When the Lord gave me the assignment of Archippus Awakening, He clarified early on that busyness is not necessarily fruitfulness. On the surface, busyness may appear impressive but it is also highly deceptive. [Read: I Not Busy] In His assessment of the Church in Sardis, Jesus said, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” Rev 3:1. In Archippian language, “You look and sound awake, but you are actually asleep.” Hence, the need for another awakening!
Without doubt, we need to learn how to discern between Christian activities and kingdom assignments. This became one of the four traits of an Archippus who is awakened, aligned and assigned: Assignments Not Activities. Each time I have a chance to minister in a local church, this is what I would declare and many would readily agree and identify. However, I also appreciate the struggles that many pastors, church staff and members face. With the church-machinery to maintain, it takes both conviction and courage to change.
But don’t just take it from me. Church Leaders just shared the article The Overcommitted Church by Thom Rainer, the President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. As one who has consulted with many churches, Rainer listed the following paradigms that have led to this phenomenon:
- Our churches equate activity with value.
- Programs and ministries became ends instead of means.
- Failure of churches to have a clear purpose.
- Church leaders have failed to say “no.”
- Fear of eliminating.
- Church is often defined as an address.
- Churches often try to compete with culture rather than reach culture.
His conclusion? “Busy churches. Activity-driven churches. Overcommitted churches. Ineffective churches.” Interestingly, ineffective was also Jesus’ assessment of the church in Laodicea (Rev 3:15).
Although Rainer’s context is primarily American, I fear that Singaporean churches are experiencing the same challenges. In ministering to many across the Body of Christ, this is one big issue we keep having to address. Everyone seems to be so busy! But are we effective? The sad thing is that the Body of Christ seems to be caught in a vicious cycle we don’t know how to break out of.
Over time, I understand even more clearly why the Lord needs to bring another awakening. Not just another ra-ra, feel good awakening, but one that awakens the saints towards their kingdom assignments. This awakening is not only for those doing nothing, but also for those doing way, way, way too much, but not really knowing why or what they are doing.
It’s about kingdom assignments, dear Archippus, not merely Christian activities. It is far easier to get involved in activities but that would be missing the point. For Christian activities, it’s about participating. But for kingdom assignments, it’s all about posturing.
As Paul exhorted Archippus in Colossians 4:17, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord”, I am pleading with the saints to know and fulfil their God-given kingdom assignments. That is what we should be busy with.