Still Serving It’s Purpose?

First Cell PhoneForty years ago, Motorola introduced the first cell phone. On April 3, 1973, Dr. Martin Cooper, a  Motorola researcher, made the first mobile telephone call from handheld equipment.  The phone used by Mr. Cooper weighed 2.5 pounds, and measured 9 inches long, 5 inches deep, and1.75 inches wide. The battery in this phone lasted 30 minutes, and it took 10 hours to recharge.

The evolution of the cell phone into today’s smart phone is one of the most remarkable technological advances in recent history.  Cell phones today do so much more than just make phone calls.  In fact, making a call is one of their least important features.

Three years ago, I bought one of these smart phones. I soon discovered I had much more than just a phone.  In addition to a phone, I had purchased 5.0-megapixel camera, a VGA quality video recorder, an enhanced audio recorder, and a complete with blue-tooth and wireless capability.  I learned I could surf the internet, maintain my address book, keep my calendar, play video games, send and receive emails, write letters, and do just about anything I could do on my desktop computer.  This little device has 16 gigabytes  of data storage and came with a 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen multi-touch display.  In addition, I discovered I could download hundreds of applications for a myriad of functions and activities I had no idea I even needed.a mobile communication device.

To call it a smart phone seemed to be an understatement.

When my contract with the cellular company expired, I decided to upgrade and change providers.  I still have that phone, but today it does everything except make phone calls.  It is still a great little device, and I sometimes use it to check my email or surf the internet; however, it no longer serves its primary purpose.   When I try to make a call, I get an error message saying, “No service.”  It looks like a phone and does everything other phones do, except make calls.

Is it possible something similar has happened to us as followers of Jesus?  We have all the latest “apps” and can do just about anything imaginable as religious people EXCEPT the one thing for which we were created?

As I browse through church websites, newsletters, and Sunday morning bulletins, I see a lot of religious “bells and whistles” but wonder, are they fulfilling the purpose Jesus had in mind, when He said, “upon this rock, I will build my church.” ? Just because there is a lot of religious activity going on in our facilities does not mean we are fulfilling our original purpose.

What is the purpose of the Church?  Why are we here on earth?  What did Jesus mean when He said, “As my Father has sent me, so send I you?”  He made it very clear in Matthew 28:19-20 when He said, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Are we making disciples?  If so, what kind of disciples are we making?

The bottom line for every pastor, every leader, and ultimately, every church member is to ask and answer these questions.  We must look at everything we do, examine every program we support, evaluate every project we attempt, and analyze every penny we spend.  Then, we must honestly ask ourselves, “Are we doing what Jesus told us to do?”  Are we fulfilling our purpose?  Are we like a smart phone without cellular service, doing many good things, but failing in the one thing that defines our existence?

Larry Doyle

Published by Larry Doyle

Dr. Larry Doyle served as the Director of Missions for the Piedmont Baptist Association from September 1, 2003, to May 31, 2016. Since retiring from the Piedmont Baptist Association in 2016, Dr. Doyle has served as interim pastor and pulpit supply for several churches in the Piedmont Triad area. He served the Pinecroft Baptist Church from August 2018 to October 2020. His ministry began in the pastorate in Kentucky, his native state. He served as pastor of three churches while completing his undergraduate, graduate and post graduate degrees. (1968–1979) He and his wife Becky, a native of Greensboro, served as missionaries with the International Mission Board in Ecuador from 1980 to 1992. They returned to North Carolina where Larry pastored the Union Cross Hispanic Baptist Church in Kernersville from 1992 to 2000. In January 2001 he and Becky moved Honduras where they served as the On-site Coordinator for Disaster Relief with the North Carolina Baptist Men, coordinating volunteer teams in rebuilding houses and churches after the destruction of Hurricane Mitch. Upon returning from Honduras in January 2002, Larry served as the International Ministries Director for Baptist Metrolina Ministries in Charlotte, NC, a position he held until answering the call to become the Director of Missions for the Piedmont Baptist Association in Greensboro, NC in September 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Kentucky University, and received a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Today Larry enjoys “Strengths Coaching” and mentoring pastors and church leaders. He also enjoys finding, refinishing and repurposing old, discarded furniture. Larry and Becky have two sons, Steve and Tim, and are the proud grandparents of five.

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