by Mike Keating on Wednesday, 9th of March 2016
Bakery Chain Stopped Making Bread
One of Britain’s biggest bakers has admitted it is no longer selling loaves of bread in at least one its stores. Greggs revealed on Twitter that it had removed its loaves to ‘allow for other products to be sold’ after a customer complained that his local shop no longer stocked them. ‘If products aren’t selling well, we take them off,’ it added. The bakery chain, founded by John Gregg in 1961, has increasingly been stocking snacks such as pasties, pizzas, panini and sandwiches at its 1,650 stores in the UK. Fascinating! How can a bakery forget that making bread is its core business? This provokes my thinking because I think the Church has forgotten its core business. Jesus left us with very clear instructions in what is rightly termed the GREAT COMMISSION.
Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:18-20 NLT)
The one ‘imperative’ action here is not the going, the baptising or even the teaching, as important as all these tasks are. The core command is MAKE DISCIPLES. If a bakery has money, equipment and staff but does not bread, it is failing its purpose. If a shoe shop has capital, fitout, and staff, but does not sell shoes, it is failing its mission. If a school has buildings, teachers and students but does not educate its students, it is missing the point. If a church has people, a building, and lots of programs, but does not make disciples, … well, I think you can guess my conclusion.
I often wrestle before God about making a call for people to be saved. I do believe it is important, but Jesus rarely did this. More often, Jesus asked for disciples. In fact, he never asked anyone to become a Christian! But he did challenge people often to follow Him, to take up their cross and become a disciple.
I really believe the challenge of the Western church is to confront easy grace-orientated optional Christianity, and call people to the task of following Jesus as a disciple. May God help me! May God help us.