It happens to me all the time. I go into a room to get something I need but by the time I get there I forgot what I came for. I have to go back to the place where I decided I needed that something to remember what I went for in the first place. I think this problem is called "middle age."
The same thing happens to a church. The church begins to operate with a definite purpose. She grows and more opportunities for grow present themselves. The church gets involved in so many things that she eventually forgets why she exists. Let's be clear about the Church's purpose.
The Church does not exist to make money. The Church can be successful at her purpose with no money in the bank. The early Church was very successful and had no money. The early Church sent missionaries without budgets. The early Church had no capital campaigns. The early Church would be surprised at our fixation on money.
The Church does not exist to build buildings. The Church can be successful at her purpose without owning any buildings. The early Church had no buildings. They met wherever they could. They often met in each other's homes. They fulfilled the purpose without owning a building.
The Church does not exist to create programs. The Church can be successful without anyone owning a notebook with the teachings of Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah or any other great Bible teacher. Each of these could be studied with some wonderful results but this is still not the purpose of the Church.
The Church exists to take people who have no relationship with Jesus Christ and help them become passionately involved devoted followers who will reach out to those who have no relationship with Jesus Christ. The Church exists to make disciples.
It has been said that no pastor has ever been fired for failing to witness. I am afraid that may be true. This may also be why churches do not know that their main cause isn't to maintain beautiful buildings, put on tremendous concerts or start the latest greatest program.
The Church must be in the business of reaching people at the cost of everything else. The Church is successful when she reaches people even if there is no money in the bank, no buildings ever built or any new programs ever started. Reaching and maturing people must remain the church's measure of success.
A church will fight when she loses her purpose. She will make unimportant things paramount. She will not know how to say "no" to things that do not fit in her purpose. She will wander and accomplish little. She will make earthly things sacred and sacred things earthly.
Has your church forgotten her purpose? If so, are you the person who needs to remind her? Somebody needs to.