As I have searched for a Lead Pastor role, I have been asked a lot of different questions. One of the best was this one: In what area or areas are you passionate about seeing the American church change or move forward?
I am passionate about seeing the American church grow in health, unity, and mission.
Health is primarily a local church issue. Unhealthy churches cannot produce healthy fruit (see Matthew 7:17-18). For a church to be healthy, it must have a healthy pastor and healthy leaders. This doesn’t mean everyone in the church needs to be healthy, for as Jesus also said, “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” But for the church to be effective, the church itself must be healthy.
Unity is one health factor at the local level. There must be unity among the leaders, and the congregation must be united behind them. But unity is also needed across the spectrum of Christian faith: local churches need to unite to impact their communities; denominations and other regional and national church associations need to unite to impact their regions, the nation, and the world. A divided church at any level will not accomplish the world-transforming mission of God.
Mission is possible when churches are healthy and united. The mission of the Church—stated even more simply than “make disciples of all peoples”—is to Love God and Love People. This mission is lived out both locally in our communities and globally as we partner with, serve, and learn from the church in other parts of the world.
Why am I passionate about this? Because I have felt and seen the great pain caused by the American church. I am passionate because for too long, the American church has been marked by division and a separatist attitude that have increasingly driven people away from Jesus more than drawn them to Him. We have complained about our nation’s moral nosedive but have been helpless to stop it—not because we have been unable to elect Christ-following political leaders (see Jeremiah 17:5), but because we have not loved our neighbors. When the American church recognizes and acknowledges its own sickness, it can take the steps needed to get healthy; and when the church gets healthy, we will be able to unite behind God’s mission…enabling a far greater Kingdom impact on our nation and the world.