bits from bob....
Deficits are big news. Not only does our nation currently face big budget deficits, the economic situation means that many families face similar financial deficits due to job loss, lowered income, and increased expenses. A financial deficit means that spending is greater than revenue. A little saying from years past has stuck with me. "If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall"-that is a good description of a deficit. A deficit causes people to question where resources are coming from and where they are going. A deficit should cause people to ask about priorities and whether resources are being expended where they can solve the problems.
My friend, James Nored, recently suggested that the church has a "mission deficit". In the same way that our national government seems incapable of establishing sufficient priorities and making hard decisions to deal with an overwhelming deficit, has the church misaligned its priorities and failed to make hard decisions regarding missions? Are we using our resources on things that will not solve the long-term problem?
Many things can help the church move forward, but some are more vital than others. You show me a church that is definitely on the move, vibrant, alive, involved, active, and enthused about the work of the Lord, and I will show you a church that has a heart for something bigger than it is. I will show you a church that has an international awareness, an evangelistic heart. I will show you a church that is involved in mission work around the world, and as serendipity is bringing people to Jesus at home.
Our world is suffering from a serious crisis: a Jesus crisis! (See an article on this topic, and several other new articles that focus on missions at the "recent posts" section of my Articles Index.) The church in many places does not want to hear that there is a problem. We are happy in our ignorance-we too often suffer from "head in the sand" syndrome. We need to renew our commitment to our mission-and missions. We must live our lives with the world in view. The church is not reservoir but conduit. In many places our conduit is blocked, and the gospel is dripping rather than gushing. And some churches have completely turned off the spigot, retaining all of their resources for themselves!