We asked several Christian leaders, “What should churches served by CHRISTIAN STANDARD strive to be or do or look like in the next decades?”
By Jeff Metzger
I think the ultimate answer to this question is simple. The church should always strive to be and do and look as much like Jesus as possible! For 20 centuries, the church has always been at its best when it was most like Jesus. That will always be true. Our goal as disciples is to be like our teacher, Jesus. Here are some ways we can continue to make that happen.
Jesus loves the nations. So must his church! The scope of our Great Commission assignment is universal. God wants his kingdom to come on all the earth. He wants to disciple all the nations. The church exists for world evangelization. That missionary spirit starts next door, but it calls us around the world as we go through life. That means the church must always focus beyond itself and commit people, energy, and resources to our call to make disciples.
Jesus loves the Father. So should we. As we move into the future, our worship gatherings will surely continue to change in style and venue, but the focus must always be the same: the glory of God! Spirit and truth must forever guide and shape our worship. And personal passion for God’s glory must grip our hearts and call us to praise. Worship gatherings, large and small, filled with passionate people will always be attractive, but most of all they glorify the Father. When it comes to life and worship, he alone is the audience we strive to please.
Jesus loves people. So should we. Jesus was known for always doing good for people. He laid down his life for people. I’m convinced he wants his church to be famous for the same love and sacrifice for the people we meet. It will always be our love for people, made obvious in our actions, that marks and identifies us as followers of Jesus. We must continue to do everything in our power to spur one another on to love and good deeds. God wants us to continually live with an external focus and an “others” orientation.
Jesus loves the truth. So should we. How did Jesus defend himself when he was tempted in the wilderness? He quoted the Scriptures. What did Jesus do when he went to the synagogue? He read and taught the truth of God’s Word. When Jesus walked with the disciples on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection, he explained how the Scriptures pointed to him. The healthy church of the future must be a Bible-based, Bible-teaching church.
Jesus loves mercy. So will we! Jesus was known as a friend of sinners. His kindness mystified the religious types, and they caused him trouble. But the amazing grace of Jesus reveals the heart of God. The future is sure to continue to present multiple opportunities to demonstrate the grace of God. It won’t always be easy to be gracious and truthful, but it will always be right.
Jeff Metzger serves as lead pastor with River Hills Christian Church, Loveland, Ohio, and president and CEO of New Mission Systems International.