The congregation for whom I preach recently launched a 5-year vision that is designed to position us to be more effective witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The most immediate piece of that plan is the renovation of our auditorium and the addition of another worship service time. This move will “force” each of us in the congregation to change our Sunday morning routines – and change like that can be difficult.
But one thing that gives our leaders the courage to move forward with these changes is the vision that the “physical” changes to our facility and routines will be a catalyst for the spiritual changes we need to make in order to be the kind of Great Commission church Jesus has called us to be. Our leaders have determined that we need to have a greater sense of urgency for reaching those who are spiritually lost and apart from Christ.
And this requires a change of mindset.
Which is what going to multiple services is truly about. There are logical and rational reasons for why we are adding a service time on Sunday morning, which has been communicated to the congregation. But that change represents something more – it is a shift from putting ourselves first so that we can prioritize the people we are trying to reach.
So, for the last several months I have been praying the words that the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:
“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win the Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
In that passage, I am in awe of Paul’s passion and focus for winning people to Christ. But that task required him to adapt his methods in relevant ways in order to make Jesus known to the audience he was trying to reach.
I want to have that kind of mindset!
And my mindset needs to change to be more like Paul’s.
I was reminded of this when I was talking to a minister friend of mine whose church has six services on Sundays. When I was telling him about the changes we’re going through, he excitedly asked, “You know why you go to two services, right?” I said, “Why?” He said, “So that you can eventually go to three. And do you know why you go to three?” I said, “So you can eventually go to four?” He smiled and said, “You got it!”
I was amazed by his mindset.
He was focused on reaching more and more people and on doing what he could to bring more people into their building to worship God and learn about Jesus.
I had been worried about how our changes would affect me and us.
But it’s not about me and us.
It’s about the people who don’t know Jesus and the peace, grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, and salvation that only Jesus can provide.
I must change my mindset so that “I might save some,” as Paul put it.
So, I’ve been praying and asking God to increase my passion for the Gospel and my love for the lost.
And he is changing me. I can feel it, and I have noticed a shift in my mindset.
I noticed it the other day when another minister friend of mine commented on our change to multiple services and said, “Boy, that’s a big change to your routine. You’re going to be exhausted after preaching multiple services on Sundays.” He’s right, of course, but I hadn’t even thought of it like that. Because I am willing to make any changes I need to make if it means preaching the gospel to more people!
After that conversation, I silently thanked God for changing my mindset to the point where I haven’t even considered the impact these changes will make on me because I’m too focused on how it will help our church reach others for the sake of the Gospel.
I am excited about the new direction my congregation is taking because I keep envisioning the people who are going to be won to Jesus because our church family is more actively pursuing them, as Jesus told his disciples to do.
I am grateful for the change in mindset that God is continuing to cause in my life.
What about you?
Does your mindset need to change so that you can be a more effective witness for Christ?