Too many churches in America are failing to make disciples of non-disciples. The mission of many churches is internally focused on more people, more money, and more buildings, rather than externally focused on the mission of Jesus. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, has discovered that it is not what you add to your life, it is what you abandon that will make the difference.1
Churches need to abandon those beliefs and practices that hinder the expansion of the kingdom. Churches in America must no longer measure success by size, must no longer be preoccupied with buildings and property, must no longer focus on Christian education without emphasizing life transformation, must no longer focus on the church instead of the harvest, and must no longer depend on professional clergy to do the work of ministry, discipleship, and evangelism. Instead, they must train every member to engage those in the culture with the gospel.
This shift toward missional alignment requires the evaluation of all church programs, events, and activities. Anything that does not further Jesus’ mission must be eliminated. Believers need to be encouraged to discard those practices, behaviors, and commitments that interfere with accomplishing the mission.
1 Jim Collins, “Pulling the Plug,” Inc. magazine (March 1997), 76-77; quoted in Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson, The Externally Focused Church, Loveland: Group Publishing, 2004, 203.