Good intentions alone are no better than no intentions unless we get intentional about our good intentions! Most of us do not suffer from a lack of knowledge, but from a lack of will. Churches are full of good intentions. Churches have good intentions to win the lost, assimilate new people, disciple the saved, minister to people’s needs, be on mission to reach the world, involve people in vital ministries, build relationships with others, and so on. With all these good intentions, why are we not growing and thriving? Why are most churches in decline or plateaued? There is a lack of intentionality! Friend, if good intentions would have gotten the job done, we would have won the world to Christ years ago.
Christian people often go to bed with the good intention of rising the next morning and spending time reading their Bible and praying. Yet many do not. Why? There is a lack of intentionality. They do not get to bed in time to get a decent night’s rest, or they do not set the alarm early enough to have time for their morning devotions. They have good intentions; they just do not execute those intentions. Churches are like the people in them; they are full of good intentions but often devoid of ways to execute them.
As previously stated, Sunday School gives everyone the opportunity to get involved in the church’s mission. Intentionality requires involvement! No involvement, no intentionality! If a church has no small group ministry, she greatly reduces the possibility for people to be involved. If you have no intentional way to get people involved, then you
• waste God’s giftedness in them
• have very little ministry taking place
• raise up lazy Christians
• confine the church’s potential
• position the church for an implosion
I heard a story that illustrates this point. A young preacher had graduated from seminary and was called to pastor his first church in a rural community. He had just moved to his new church when the local funeral home director called and asked him to do the graveside service for a ninety-three-year-old man. Obviously the new pastor wanted to get involved with the community and minister to the people there, so he accepted the offer. The elderly man had outlived his friends and had just a few family members so the decision was made to have only a graveside service at a small country cemetery. The funeral home director explained directions to the cemetery and gave the new pastor the time and date. At the appointed time the pastor drove to the cemetery but lost his way. Finally, after several wrong turns he showed up thirty minutes late. The hearse was gone and no people were present. The pastor just assumed the few people that would have attended decided to leave. Since he had promised he would do the graveside service, he was bound to keep his word, so he could at least report this to the funeral home director and maintain his integrity as the new pastor in town. So he took his Bible, got out of his car, and walked to the grave. It was then he noticed the workers sitting under a shade tree eating their lunch. Apparently, they were waiting on him to do the service so they could cover the grave. The pastor went to the grave and found the vault already in place. He opened his Bible and read Psalm 23, made a few comments, and offered a prayer. As he returned to his car, he overheard one of the workers say to the other, “Do you think we ought to tell him that’s a septic tank?” The pastor had good intentions, but his good intentions were not enough. We must put some intentionality to our good intentions, or else we will end up with an unhealthy church on our hands.
Taylor, A. (2009). Sunday school in hd. Nashville: B&H.