“If you’re not careful, you can go to this meeting, and teach that class, and visit the Sunday school party, and wind up spending your life carrying on a program, and never reproduce disciples.
That’s what you have to watch. It’s difficult to keep that perspective.”
Robert E. Coleman
Coleman wrote these words to pastors. But they speak to all of us, don’t they? It is very easy to become busy in good church activities and neglect the intentional work of spiritual growth. What is most tragic, many who are busy planning meetings and various church socials think that is all there is to “doing” church. What are neglected are intentional spiritual practices such as daily prayer, study of the Bible and seeking intentional application of God’s teachings to the daily living of their lives. Many are good at “playing church” with all their good intentions, energy and effort. And the church is the stronger for their effort. Difficulty is, what all this activity produces is exhausted Christians who show little formation in their personal lives.
Make no mistake, the church must have people who will run meetings and plan social activities. The question is, “What is all this activity about?” The bottom line for Jesus Christ – and every organization must have a bottom line – is that increasing numbers of people begin to live differently from the rest of the world. As William Willimon once said, “We know we are making progress in the Christian life when others look at us like we are some sort of alien.” People who are growing in Christ simply look different from the rest of the world. They are more generous with their money, they exercise care with how they speak and treat one another and there is urgency in their lives to advance the work of God in their spheres of influence. Church members who are busy with church functions certainly make the church stronger for all their effort. People who are attentive to their Christian formation make the church the bride of Christ.