Posted: 7/27/18 at 8:50am. Column by Ed Jordan.
In my column last week, I explored the need to develop a kaizen mindset in order to be actively doing things that help improve our lives, families, churches, workplaces, neighborhoods, and world.
I took a big-picture look at the importance of developing a mindset committed to constant improvement. Some readers might bristle at my use of a secular term as the core idea of a column; however, this whole concept has a very deep Christian theological basis.
In Philippians 3, Paul tells us that the Christian is to have a mindset to be constantly improving and becoming more and more like Jesus.
In Phil. 3:13–14 (ESV) we read: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Here Paul describes our Christian journey as moving forward and upward beyond what we have already achieved, and continuing to strive toward the goal of becoming like Jesus. This requires discipline (straining forward), it involves holy improvement (the upward call of God), and the process lasts our entire lifetime.
We are to have a spiritual, Christian kaizen mindset, always sensitive to ways to become more like Jesus—to improve the quality of our lives and service of God.
Having said that, let’s think about a type of mindset that would help build up or improve the church of which we are a part. At the basic level, the church is the people (1 Cor. 12:12, 14). So there are some very specific ways that you and I can improve our churches by personal improvement.
The first way is to value your church; you don’t know what you have until you lose it. Value what the church imparts to our souls, our spirits, our values, our civility, and our quality of family life.
Value the positive influences that churches contribute to our towns and country, and communicate that with your kids and grandkids. The values gained at church are not imparted anywhere else. Society needs the church, and so does every marriage and family.
Secondly, regularly pray for your church: its members, its vitality, and its effectiveness. Pray that God will bless it with life, health, effectiveness, and growth.
Thirdly, commit yourself to do your part to make a positive impact on people outside the church and to bring new people into the church. Sometimes the body of Christ gets run down and suffers from tired blood. A transfusion of some fresh blood often helps our physical body, and the infusion of new members helps improve the life of the church as well.
Fourthly, help people realize that they need Jesus and the church. How can you help people realize they need Christ and the church? You can improve your own participation in the church. Commit yourself to make sure you regularly attend.
Talk up the good things God is doing in your life and that are happening among your church’s members. Find opportunities to tell others why you love Jesus and your church. When you speak to people, at some point ask where they go to church, and if they don’t regularly attend somewhere, invite them to come with you next week. Explain the improvements and benefits that come to your life as you attend church.
Lastly, a very practical way to help improve your church is to be faithful in your donations, and to improve those donations as you can. Churches lose money every year from inflation and higher costs. While salvation is the free gift of God, church operating costs must be paid with money.
How can we help improve our church? Each day, we need to improve our cooperation with God in improving our own lives and improving the impact we make on behalf of Christ during the week. Become more active in serving the Lord through the church and in regularly attending the church.
Tell others about the benefits you gain from attending church and serving Christ. Bring people with you to discover God at work in your church. Support your church by attending, volunteering, praying, and financially supporting the church’s ministries.
Christians are to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Salt makes people thirsty for water, and Christ is the Living Water who can quench spiritual thirst. What can you do to get people thirsty for Jesus?