Last month, a dear brother in our church sent me a link about churches (within our very loose movement) who are closing.
Here’s the link (hoping it still works):
I read the article and appreciated the notions and sentiments expressed. But something nagged at me about how the article was thought through. I collected my thoughts and bounced them off my church member. Here’s the email I sent to my brother …
“Thanks for the article.
“As nice as the conclusion was; that we should fuel the assembly with love, that is not the whole picture. Loving the saints in the assembly is exactly what has happened in all those assemblies that have closed. They loved their own deeply and well: great fellowship, shared life, deep connections. It is comfortable, agreeable, and safe to love one’s own. There is great comfort in ministering to other believers.
"Love of the saints is not enough to fulfill the Great Commission. We must love our neighbor – the unsaved, the troubled, the difficult, the messed up, and the irritating. If we do not love the lost, we will fail with the task of preaching the gospel to those who need it. Believers – all believers – need to see themselves as missionaries.
“God will, in his mercy, allow a disobedient assembly to continue to live out its life, but then will let that body die. Many assemblies, who loved each other – but not the lost – have enjoyed 'rich fellowship' but have closed their doors.
“Churches that are thriving, 'assemblies' or not, are those who are faithful to speaking and being the gospel to those who are far from God. They have moved from, ‘every member a minister,’ to, ‘every member a Missionary.’
“The sister is not wrong that saints within an assembly must love and minister to each other, but she did not say enough. Loving each other is not enough for a church to thrive. Loving God and loving people – all people – is what Jesus told us to do. That’s when his people, doing what he commands, will see his blessing.
“Many Blessings, Bro –
Any thoughts out there? Is love the only answer? What does that mean? Is it enough to love my church family - or is that insufficient?