Luke 19:10 says “For the Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost”. Church life should have at its very heart this sense of ‘we’ve got to reach people’ - that’s the heart of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. My own conviction is that as pastors, we have historically tended to lean towards building the church, caring for the saints and teaching them - and rather less towards reaching people.
Some of us would say that pastoring is our primary gift - that’s extremely valid but if we’re going to make the church an effective outreach family, my conviction is that we have to intentionally lean towards outreach because churches have a tendency to turn in on themselves. If as a leader you’ve got a teaching or pastoring bias in your own gifting, that combination is likely to mean that the gradient of your church will be towards excellent care and going deeper and deeper in the Word and we’ll know more and we’ll be well equipped and well taught but - are we seeking and saving the lost? For some of you this will raise questions about your primary gifting and make you examine how you shape your whole leadership structure.
Our own story is that I arrived at King’s about 15 years ago. The church had been in some decline over the previous 10 years, it had gone from 300 to about 150 and the building was falling down. I arrived and during that first 15 months the church didn’t grow. Everyone that joined was matched by someone who left because they didn’t like my leadership style… then after about 15 months we began to grow and that growth has continued. We’ve grown from, on average, 200 in attendance to about 1200 on a Sunday morning.
During that time we sent 30 of our members to plant into South Central London and then a further 10 went to support Stuart Gibb at the Greenwich church plant. We believed it was right to do that and we did this even while we were looking for a 10% average increase at King’s. We balance these two elements - build the church and reach the lost.