From Church Culture to Mission Culture

Do you ever get tired of the same old, same old? Do you get caught in ruts or routines? Many of us do. Even churches aren’t exempt from this.  Some churches do the same programs, year after year, without a good reason. When asked why, they respond “it’s just what we’ve always done.” This is church culture. This mindset has dominated many churches, when they should have been focused on creating a mission culture.

God doesn’t want us to become busy just playing church instead of seeking his true heart. His heart is for the nations. Unfortunately, when churches turn inward instead of outward, they decline. In Luke 5, Jesus shows what we can do to change from a church culture to a mission culture.

1. Take Jesus at His Word
After not catching any fish, Jesus asked Simon to let down his nets in deep water for a catch. By obeying His word, their nets became so full of fish that they began to brake. Simon Peter was astonished and fell down at Jesus’ feet realizing his unbelief and sinfulness. Jesus said to him, “Do not fear, from now on you will fish for people.” Jesus’ disciples took Jesus at his word and left everything behind to follow him (Luke 5:1-11).  As we obey Jesus’ word come to understand our own frailties, we will break out of our ruts and begin to bear fruit again.

2. Pray for God’s Power to be Displayed
As Jesus traveled, he came across a leper who begged him to heal his disease. The man was cured immediately when Jesus touched him. Jesus then told him show himself as clean to the priest and to make an offering for his cleansing. News spread as great multitudes gathered to hear Jesus and be healed of their sicknesses. Oftentimes, Jesus would slip away to pray alone (Luke 5:12-16). This shows us how important it is to pray. God hears us when we pray and answers our prayers made in faith.

3. Show Compassion, Rather Than Condemnation

Because of the crowd, some men carrying a paralyzed man went up on the roof and let him down through tiles to set him in front of Jesus. Instead of saying, “get up and walk,” Jesus told the man that his sins were forgiven. The Pharisees and teachers of the law questioned him because only God can forgive sin.

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins. He then turned to the paralyzed man and healed him. He rose from his stretcher where he had been lying and went home, giving glory to God (Luke 5:17-26). 

Many churches today are known more for what they are against than what they are for. They are seen as condemning people like the Pharisees, instead of showing grace and forgiveness. We should follow Jesus’ example and show compassion instead of condemnation.

4. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Jesus told a tax-gatherer named Levi to follow Him. He left everything behind and followed Him. After Levi invited other tax-gatherers and gave a big reception for Jesus, the Pharisees and scribes grumbled at His disciples saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax-gatherers and sinners?” Jesus answered that since the sick need a physician, He was calling sinners to repentance, not the righteous (Luke 5:27-32). 

Our influence is through relationships. If we are unwilling to meet with people that are different than us or have different beliefs than us, we will never have the opportunity to share the Truth with them. Churches today should be more like Jesus and get out of their comfort zones to reach people for Christ.