Heard a large church pastor talking about alignment. "We will not do any ministry that does not align with our mission." Their mission is to be a family friendly church. Boy Scouts? They are all for it and have 3 different troops. Child friendly? They have a Fall Festival and Spring carnival. There is also a family life center that holds basketball and volleyball leagues for kids starting as young as 3 year olds and going up through high school. There is a mother's day out and a pre-school. There is a lads and dads camp. The list goes on and on. This church is in alignment with the goal to be a family church but..... Are they in alignment with the purpose of making new disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world? The boy scout troops are tenants and the church is their landlord. The purpose of the boy scouts is to build character in young men, a noble, humanitarian purpose but not the same as the purpose of the church. The Fall Festival and Spring Carnival bring young families from all over the community. This is great! This is an attractive way to reach out to the community but any organization can do that. There is no effort to bring folks to worship or Christian community. There is no effort to collect information that will allow future contact in order to make new disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.
The basketball and volleyball leagues are terrific for youngsters to learn new skill sets, how to play well with others, and be a member of a team. The pastor brags that there is no "pressure to be a part of our church," and I applaud accepting these children and parents just as they are. My question is "Is there an intentional plan to invite these folks to worship or participate in a life changing small group?" I see no evidence of this. Admittedly some of these people find their way into the folds of the congregation. But many more could be reached and connected to God with intentionality. The point is this: We can be in alignment with our mission but still not be in alignment with our purpose.
Is your church practicing alignment with a stated mission but failing to align the activity with the purpose of the church? Next week we will explore ways to turn these events into disciple building activities.