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The Church Can’t Do Everything

This week we are talking about making that real lasting investment in our communities, and making it outside of our church.  (Catch-up with the introduction HERE.)  I love MY church, THE church, and the calling of the church.  However, sincerely believing that doesn’t mean that the Church Can Do Everything.

I believe that it was never the intention of the local church to replace individual outreach.  It’s not the church’s job to reach out to my next door neighbor, or coach my kids baseball team, or volunteer at the public school in my community, or share Christ with the hurting world I interact with everyday.  As Christians, it is our duty to bring life change to wherever we are living.

The purpose of the church is more of a launching pad.  There is no doubt that we can create some effective outreach from within the walls of our church community, and I’ve seen great churches make an impact in their communities as a whole.  But, isn’t church also to be the place that we launch people out into the world?  Isn’t the local church meant to encourage those in attendance to live a life that brings glory to God and therefore spread the Gospel the world over?

Those of us working in churches, are often the last ones to get this message.  We spend 50+ hours a week creating amazing experiences for the families that attend our church (and we should), but many of us spend rarely an hour a year investing in our community without our church name badge on.  Why?  This has got to change if we are truly to be leaders at taking the Gospel to a hurting world.

Let us force the community of believers we serve with to see Christianity as permeating our everyday life.  Let’s bring light to our hurting communities, and in the process bring the light to our own churches.  I’ve never once served in my community, and NOT seen my church get the attention in some way.

Many of us have personal passions that we are dreaming of fulfilling, and fell restricted by our local church.  Let this not be.  It’s my prayer that you find the solution to carry on the mission of your calling both inside your church walls and outside them as well.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Jeff · January 24, 2012

    Great post Jonathan!

  2. Jonathan Williams · January 24, 2012

    Interesting thoughts and I do agree that the brick and mortar that most people refer to as church and the people that are employed by that church are limited in their total scope of ministry.   All too often unrealistic expectations are placed on those that work within the church.   The problem is we have mistakenly defined church as a noun.   Church should be a verb.   What does the Bible say about the roll of the church? As demonstrated in the Bible church is the collective activities of the Body of Christ.   As a group of believers we are instructed by Jesus Christ himself to go and make disciples.   That go is an action call to all believers.   The book of Acts gives a beautiful picture of how the church should operate.   With that picture of the church going and doing we can as a collective group accomplish all that God has called us to do.   The key is how do we relate that message to the Body of Christ as a whole and that is where the brick and mortar church comes into play.   The brick and mortar church is the vehicle we use for getting people trained and discipled for the mission of going. Most churches have now all but eliminated the time spent in the building and we seem to be growing an increasingly Biblical illiterate generation of believers.  We seem to have forgotten Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near
    Let us not also forget about what Jesus himself says about the church in Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.   Pretty strong words!   We most always rely on scripture for basis of all our arguments.  

    • Jonathan Cliff · January 24, 2012

      That’s a great clarification Jonathan.  The  distinction  between the “CHURCH” and the “CHURCH BUILDING” had to be made.

      Thanks for the comment.

      • Jonathan Williams · January 24, 2012

        I can see your heart and agreed, I  just thought a little clarification of terms was needed.   God has placed a burden on my heart for the “modern church” especially children s ministry.   The burden extends from attending CPC12 and the seemingly lack of Biblically based proposed solutions to the increasingly lost culture of the United States.   I am not giving up, as we are told in Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful .   May God bless you and your ministry.   I look forward to reading more of your post and maybe even opening up further dialog.   As Iron Sharpens Iron my friend!