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Cruise Ship or Battleship – Podcast & Blog

August 10, 2018

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Is the church more like a cruise ship or a battleship? That may seem like an interesting comparison but think about it. Why do people go on a cruise? To get away from it all, to be waited on, to get away from responsibility, to relax and get away from work, and so on. A battleship is made for function, for work, to defend against the enemy attacks.

The main difference seems to be in focus. The cruise ship is focused on the comfort of the passengers and the battleship is focused on the mission.

So what are some criteria by which we would evaluate the church like we would a cruise ship?

Do I like the music?
Do Iike the pastor and staff and the people?
Do I think they do a good job?
Do they meet my needs?
What do they offer my family?
Is the temperature, seating, décor, service times and subjects covered to my liking?
Did I have a good enough experience that I would go back?

That all sounds great, right? But is that how we should evaluate a church?

What if we were evaluating the church like we would a battleship? I might ask these questions…

Is the church on a clear mission?
Does the leadership submit to a higher authority?
Is their mission guided by accomplishing a greater purpose?
Are the leaders equipped to succeed?
Are the members able to contribute in significant ways?
Is their focus on furthering the mission?

The Great Commission commissioned the church to “19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20. That sounds like the mission of the church is not to be self-serving, but to be about bringing Christ to others.

In John’s 2ndletter, there are only 13 verses, but he stresses several themes which will help the church be more battleship than cruise ship. I’ll only share one verse here, but I urge you to look at the entire letter.

2 John 4, “I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father.”

For the church to be more battleship than cruise ship, John challenges us in these 5 areas:

Truth or Consequences?
In order for us to know Christ, we must know Truth. To know Christ is to know His Word. If you want to walk in truth as John has urged, get to know His Word. The church is useless if it’s not grounded in His Word.

Love Can Build a Bridge
John says that love is shown in our walking according to His commands. Love is honoring God’s Word in all of our relationships. Love is reaching out to those who don’t look like us, act like us, think like us, or even vote like us. It’s crucial that the church live both in the church and in the world.

Command Response
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He gave a number of commands. He commanded us to repent, “follow me”, “rejoice and be exceedingly glad”, “let your light shine before men”, to be reconciled and not let bitterness or tension remain. We are to “go the second mile”, turn the other cheek, love our enemies, do unto others… That certainly sounds more like battleship than cruise ship, and it surely sounds like what the church should be about.

Walking the Talk
It’s one thing to talk the talk, but another to walk the walk. There is such freedom that comes in walking daily with Christ. We are called to be, and get the privilege to be, the hands and feet of Jesus. People know when we are just talking a good game and not walking it. On the battleship, everyone has their job. It’s the same in the church

Tune into Teaching
Everyone who serves must also be fed. Everyone who gives must also receive. It’s just a fact of life. In order to serve well, you must also be partaking of nourishment. When you get dry, it’s not time to back away, it’s time to plug in – to Bible study, to community groups, to the daily time with the Lord in Word and prayer. There are tons of good resources – our only excuse is ourselves.

Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” ‘

We are in a battle, and the battle is not against the government, against another country or power. The battle we face is against the enemy, the devil. He is working hard and winning many battles. Families are facing it day by day. You are out there facing it every day. It’s not a matter of if you are choosing to be in the battle or not. The battle is raging. Are you striving to be prepared for it?

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

From → Blog Posts, Podcasts

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