Chapter 1 – Is the Church on Steroids?

The purpose of the Church is to glorify God. The mission for carrying this out this purpose can be organized according to the five-fold approach of discipleship, evangelism, fellowship, ministry, and worship. However, the Church in North America has gotten off track with this mission, and our imbalances yield some severe consequences.

Just as athletes can pump up their performances by using steroids, churches can pump up their numbers by overfocusing resources on producing worship components that draw people in. A vital worship service may prove an effective way to reach non-Christians. However, worship services have not shown an ability to "close the back door" by which attendees leave because they are not able to get involved in meaningful ministry.

So, "steroid strategies" in church have a down side. They create extremes that stress the very systems they were meant to preserve and promote. They embrace seemingly positive short-term gains without consideration for negative long-term consequences.

Here are key destructive long-term system results of a church on steroids:

  • Overemphasis on worship depletes resources from the other four parts of the five-fold ministry (i.e. discipleship, evangelism, fellowship, ministry).
  • An attempt to be too culturally relevant creates an atmosphere that is moralistic (do the right thing), messages that are therapeutic (feel good about yourself), and/or culture that is deistic consumerism (it's all about me).
  • Burnout of vocational staff, disappointment of current volunteers, and loss of potential participants.

Are You Committed? explores why the ministry mission objective needs to be reformulated for churches, and how to do that. Jay views connecting God's people in meaningful ministry as key to rebalancing ourselves so we can fulfill our purpose of glorifying God through the entire five-fold mission of the Church.