Summary: How the church can develop a passion for fulfilling her mission
Well, God is still in control. I learned that this past Monday night. God still is a Cowboy fan, I’m convinced. Only God could take the bottom dwellers of the league, the Dallas Cowboys, and help them pull out a victory against the “Super Bowl bound, 100 million dollar,” Washington Redskins.
As I mentioned last week, I managed to get a ticket to the game at the last minute. A college friend and fellow Cowboy fan asked me to join him. We got there about 7 PM on Monday night. When we got there, we decided to save some money and park in what I call “peasant parking.” Well, it’ 20 bucks to park in peasant parking… By the way, the church next to the stadium was charging $50 to park in their lot. Maybe we should think about relocation! But as we are walking and walking to Redskin stadium, I’m reminding myself over and over that the stadium is no longer called Jack Kent Cook stadium. But as I looked up at Redskin stadium standing before me in all its glory, the first thing I notice is a big sign that says FedEx Field. My friend tells me that it’s another Dan Snyder concoction to get more money. As I stand there looking at this phenomenal stadium, and I notice something else. The entire stadium was bubble wrapped. It looked like someone had wrapped it as a Christmas present. The beautiful architecture of the stadium was covered in a big white sheet with – of course - advertising all over it. Obviously, this was another Dan Snyder brainstorm. So as I stand there with my $125 ticket in hand for the worst seat in the stadium, looking at FedEx field, gift wrapped in advertising that had to have cost a fortune, I realize, I’ve been had! I’m a part of a well-engineered scam to make someone very rich!
And as I’m taking all of this in, I have one of those epiphanal moments. I could just see some archeologist thousands of years from now uncovering the ruins of FedEx field. I can just see him standing there, scratching his head and wondering, “What could have been so important as to require all of this money, all of this hype, all of the advertising, all of these seats? Could it really be that people paid this much money just to watch a bunch of spoiled, oversized millionaires push a leather, air-filled ball down a field and across a line before being knocked down.”
My friend David gives me a strange look as I stand there in the midst of my philosophical musings, and says, “David, this is a religion to some people.”
So I’m thinking, if this is a religion to some people, then these people do religion pretty good. The leaders of this religion understand their mission – that is to win football games. Great leaders do whatever it takes to win football games. And the fans – the members of this religion - they are passionate about their religion. They support their religion with undying loyalty, by investing their time, their conversation, and their money in being a part of the mission to win football games. When I walked into Fed Ex Field Monday night, I saw a stadium full of people filled with passion about fulfilling the mission of winning football games.
So I’m guessing that if I find this kind of passion about fulfilling a mission at a football game, then I’m bound to find even greater passion at church. After all the church has the greatest mission of all time. But is that what we find? I’m afraid that when I look to the Church of Jesus Christ, I see a church whose passion is lost. I see a Church who has forgotten her mission. Churches all around the nation get passionate about politics; they get passionate about theological purity; they get passionate about programs and musical tastes, but I see little passion about fulfilling that mission that God has called the church to, that is to make disciples of all people. To baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, and to teach them to obey all things God has commanded.
We have the greatest message of all time, that Jesus Christ saves souls. He saves us to an abundant life here on earth and to an eternal life of perfection in heaven. And though we have this great message, I see people looking everywhere but the church for answers. Why? Because the Church of Jesus Christ has lost her focus. Today more than ever before, the Church needs to find her passion again. The Church needs to rediscover her mission. But how can we as a church regain our focus? How can we develop a passion for fulfilling our mission?