The church is a movement before it is an institution. And the number one characteristic of a movement is . . . movement. If something is not moving, it can’t be called a movement. And people who are not moving are not part of the movement, even if they are members of the institution.
Are you moving in mission? Are you moving outward into the world with the gospel? Is your church moving that way? Or is it only drawing people inward, adding them to the rolls, providing religious services to “complete” their lives?
I can’t think of anything more important for the church to recover than its missional essence. As I explained at the beginning of this chapter, the church, which Jesus said was unstoppable (Matt. 16:18), not only is failing to advance, but is losing ground in the West. So, it’s time for us to take some drastic measures. And that means getting back to the basics.
We need to learn from our brothers and sisters in the African and Asian parts of the Global South, where the church is growing at exponential rates. There the church seems to understand it exists for mission. I once heard a pastor from a large church in Korea say that if one of their small groups went more than a year without adding a new convert, they were brought before the elders for questioning and possible church discipline!
J. D. Greear, Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches That Send (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015).