If Not Us, Who?

Posted on May 9, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Rankin Connecting

I continue to be amazed at the passive indifference of so many churches to the mission of God. We pour budgets, time and energy into all kinds of programs and ministries for our own born-again fellowships and virtually ignore a lost world. All we have to do is turn on our television to see a world that needs Jesus. The inane, godless programming we call entertainment and newscasts filled with crime, perversion, suffering and war should compel us to confront a lost world with the life-transforming hope of the gospel.

We know that society can’t legislate morality. We know government handouts and programs aren’t the answer. But how can we expect the world to be any different until it knows Jesus Christ. We have the solution, but it remains isolated from those who need it behind the doors of our church, hidden away in Sunday School class discussions and enjoyed exclusively by those who gather in our sanctuaries of worship.

We reason that people know where to find our church; the edifice is right on the main street with its towering steeple identifying its location. They are welcome to come anytime they feel compelled and want to find the answers to life’s problems. But we are reminded that is not the nature of a sinful world. “There is none righteous…there is none who seeks God” (Romans 3:9-10).

Just as our Lord came to seek and save the lost, He sends us into the highways and hedges to compel them to come in. Our ultimate disobedience and neglect has been to turn a “go task” into an arbitrary “come structure.” It is one thing to neglect the lost where we live, but quite another to fail to take the gospel to those who have never heard. After all, they will not be touched in the normal intercourse of our daily lives. There has to be an intentionality, a deliberate effort to go to where they are; it involves willingness to leave our comfortable lifestyle and invest the resources in order for those at the ends of the earth to have the opportunity to hear and respond to a message of life-saving hope.

If we don’t do it, who will? While we carry on our time-demanding programs and keep the church functioning, who is going to fulfill the mission and purpose for which God has called us as His people? We obviously think someone is going to do it for us. Perhaps we can send a token amount of our offerings and support a relative handful of missionaries to go on our behalf. Or, as we busy ourselves in local ministry, we expect our denominational structure to take care of everything beyond our own community.

I have talked with many pastors who explain why so much has to be invested in their local church needs. They rationalize that if there is not a strong local church base there will be no one to send and support the missionaries. But the reality is that missionaries are not being called out of such churches, and the support that’s is channeled to missions is but a pittance.

What if every church did only what your church does? What if every church gave no more than what your church gives to missions? What if no more missionaries are called out of other churches than are called out of your church? Would anything be done to reach a lost world? No church or believer is exempt. We are the people of God. The task has been relegated to us. If we don’t do it, no one will.

One Comment on “If Not Us, Who?”

  1. Pastor Darcy R. Cust

    Awesome challenge. I have echoed the cry for a long time that the church needs to stop “playing” church and start “being” the church. If Christ is truly in us, then the world needs to see Him through what we do, not just in what we say. Our world is still waiting to see Jesus in us and needs to see Him through our willingness to begin where the people are, not where we think they should be. Only when we are willing to live out the Great Commission through the practice of the Great Commandment will others come to know the Christ we proclaim personally.

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