Article - Are You Active Or Productive?
Being busy or active does not necessarily mean that you are being productive. Sometimes you may have a great deal of activities going on in order to consciously or unconsciously put off or not do the productive things that you should be doing. As a larger-number church, having twenty "ministries", three full-time ministers and a host of youth activities does not automatically mean you are being productive. As a smaller-number church, having two Gospel Meetings, one singing and four fellowship meals a year does not automatically mean you are being productive. As an individual Christian, attending services three times a week, praying daily before each meal and helping someone every once in a while does not automatically mean you are being productive. Like the Sardis church of Christ, you can "have a name that you are alive, but you are dead" (Revelation 3:1).
As a rule, for a long period of time, the reason why the church of Christ of the first century was productive rather than merely active (or worse – passive) was because the average member of the church and the average, local church of Christ (1) desired the pure milk of the word, (2) longed to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus and do what was acceptable to Him, (3) had a genuine care for one another (4) had a passion to save lost souls, and (5) had a unified goal to get the whole gospel to the whole world in their generation (Acts 1:8; 2:41, 42, 44-46; 8:3-4; Romans 10:1-3; 12:1-2, 10, 13; Colossians 1:23; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18; etc.). As it stands today, especially in the United States, the average member of the church is not being diligent to be “approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). If the spirit is not fed properly, it does not grow. Thus, the average member of the church is not growing. When the spirit does not grow properly, it many times does not want to do what is acceptable to Jesus. Thus, there are a great deal of members (and churches) who are either leaving the Lord and His one true church, trying to change the Lord and His church to what is acceptable to him/them or simply not caring (Romans 16:17-18; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 10:24-27; etc.). Furthermore, if the average member of the church does not have a proper passion to grow in God’s word and way, he will not have a proper passion toward his fellow brethren and lost souls. Does any of this describe you? Do you find yourself religiously active, yet spiritually unproductive?
If you have not already figured it out, we at THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST are seeking scriptural ways to be more productive. More importantly, we are seeking scriptural ways to aid you (and your congregation) to be more productive (Ephesians 4:11-16). We genuinely love you and the Lord's church (1 Peter 2:17). We truly care about the many lost souls – as well as the many weak Christians (and churches) in the brotherhood. It is important that we all go back to the drawing board and set some spiritually obtainable goals that result in true productivity. Make a list and check it off as you produce results. Here are some ideas: (1) Study (not just read) your Bible daily (Acts 17:11). If you are not sure about the meaning of a passage, go to our search engine on our website and type in the verse or topic. If it does not "produce" the answer, email your question to us; (2) Worship and participate (if physically/mentally able) in the one true church of Christ without compromise (John 4:23-24; Ephesians 4:16); otherwise, find or start a church of Christ that is true to her Head, Jesus (Ephesians 1:22-23). If you are not sure about certain practices or doctrines going on, use our search engine to see if we have addressed the concern. If we have not, email us your concern; (3) Within a 2-week period, write down the names of every Christian you know who has left the church of Christ; also write down the names of every non-Christian you know. Then once a month take one of our DVDs/CDs (for the erring Christians, use our series "Be Faithful Unto Death" and for the non-Christians use our series "Soul-Saving lessons") and give it to the soul you are seeking to save and say, "This is an amazing DVD/CD! You are either going to love it or hate it, but I have to have it back in 2 weeks because I have someone else I want to give it to" (The reason why you say "2 weeks" is because, if you don't, they may procrastinate and not see/listen to it and you may not follow up and find out what their spiritual interest is); etc.
Some final ideas to churches: Consider turning some of your Bible classes into training classes on how to make disciples and then go out once a week as a group and set up home studies; consider merging your smaller congregation with another sound congregation; consider turning your fellowship meals into evangelistic meals where you invite non-Christians through a door campaign; consider holding a Tent Meeting in a public park rather than having a Gospel Meeting in your building; etc. We would love to hear some of your scriptural ideas on how we all can be more productive for Christ! Let's redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16)!
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