How is Business?

It has been said, there are two, critical questions every successful CEO and business owner must answer.  First, “What is your business?”  Second, “How is business?”

If we put these two questions to the Church, how would we answer them?   “What is our business?”  In other words, what is our purpose, or our reason for existence? Defining our business is fundamental to a healthy, growing church.  Without a clear understanding of why we exist, we may produce a lot of activity but never accomplish God’s purpose. In other words, we may work a lot, but never produce any product.

Never before, in the history of the church have so many congregations lost their direction and purpose.  I am convinced this is why over 3,000 Protestant churches close their doors every year in the United States. The real tragedy is not that so many churches are dying, but that so many more have lost their reason to live. The words Jesus spoke to the church at Sardis in Revelation 3:1 could very well have been written to churches in America, “…I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”

The Bible gives us a clear and simple definition of the business of the church.  Matthew 28:19-20 says our business is making disciples.  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  As we go, we are to make disciples of all people groups. That is our business.

If making disciples is our business, how is business?  Are we making disciples?  If so, what kind of disciples are we making?

Before we can answer the second question, “How is business?” we must define the word “disciple.”  If our business is making disciples, what is a disciple?  The short answer is “someone who reflects Christlikeness in his life.”  Disciples in the Bible however, did more than just reflect the likeness of Jesus.

Greg Ogden in his book, Transforming Discipleship, (Intervarsity Press, 2003), gives a more complete definition of a disciple.  He says a disciple is “a self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.”  In other words, a disciple is someone who is a fully committed follower of Jesus, who consistently leads others to become fully committed followers of Jesus.  Christlikeness is the goal of every disciple – to reflect Jesus Christ in every area and aspect of his or her life.

Disciple-making is more than preaching the Gospel, or sharing the Good News.  According to the New Testament, disciple-making takes place in and through personal relationships.  Andrew found Peter and “brought him to Jesus.”  Phillip found Nathaniel, and led him to Jesus. (John 1)  Disciple-making requires the investment of time and emotional energy in the life of another person.  It means walking with that person beyond their initial encounter with Christ into a full embrace of Christ’s claims on their life – until they learn to take up their cross daily and follow Him. Who in your sphere of influence are you discipling?

This kind of disciple-making is the “business” of the church – leading people to become fully committed followers of Christ who are leading others to become fully committed followers of Christ.

What are we doing both individually and as a congregation in making disciples?  How is business?

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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