During my 50 years of ministry (Yes, 50. That’s not a typo.), I’ve become convinced that most churches don’t put much value on soul. And that saddens me.
Why do I say this?
Far too often, more than anything else, money defines a person or organization. The old saying “show me your pocket book and I’ll tell you who you are” speaks volumes to whether or not we value the soul. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why is it easier to raise money to build buildings than it is to develop an outreach ministry to the lost?
- Why do churchgoing people donate more money to hospitals than to their own church?
- Why are the vast majority of church programs designed to meet the needs of the members?
There can be only one plausible answer to all of these questions – we don’t put as much value on the soul as we do on other things. And that so goes against the heart of the Gospel that it sickens me.
I was talking to a pastor the other day who had just come through a successful capital fund drive in which the church raised five million dollars. While we were talking it became clear that his staff was stretched so thin that no one on the staff spent any time reaching the lost of the community and there was no money for more staff, which they badly needed. I said to him, “Why don’t you have a capital fund drive for reaching the lost?” Without blinking an eye he replied, “That would never fly.”
Take the missionary program of my denomination, the United Methodist Church, as an example of not caring for the lost. Almost all of our missionaries are about helping people farm or drill wells. Very few, if any, are focused primarily on helping people find Christ. I’ve always been saddened by that and have prayed that one day we will return to our Wesleyan roots where social justice meets evangelism.
But here’s the kicker. I’ll almost bet you that some of the readers of this article are annoyed by my use of the word “lost.” What else needs to be said? We don’t value the soul much anymore.
Question: How have you seen missions done well, with the emphasis placed on winning lost souls for Christ? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
Your article is most profound and pointed right at the heart of church problems. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Too many ministries do everything else, but that. Some of the newer seeker churches seem more plugged in to reaching lost people. I see that in LifeChurch.tv and others. Thanks for stirring the pot.