There have been some pastors that have been quoted as saying, “I would love pastoring if it were not for the people.” Others have said, “I would have a pretty good church if I had good people.” Naturally, when you deal with people, you’re going to have interpersonal or relationship problems that you will have to deal with. However, the truth of the matter is, without people there would be no church. The second most valuable asset your church has is people, Jesus Christ of course being the most valuable. In this article I am going to deal with the value of the lost and the value of the saved as it relates to the church.
The Value of the Lost
As you consider the teachings and ministry of Jesus, it will become very clear that He absolutely believed that lost people matter to God. To illustrate this to His disciples, Jesus told three parables. The first parable in Luke 15:4 deals with lost sheep. The second parable in Luke 15:8-10 talks about a woman who had lost a valuable coin. The third parable in Luke 15:11-32 dealt with a lost son.
These three parables have three things in common. First, lost people are important. The one lost sheep meant revenue for the shepherd. He had invested time, love, and energy raising this sheep and taking care of it. This sheep is a considerable investment. The lost coin could have represented a precious heirloom or a large portion of her savings. The lost son obviously, was very important to his father. Remember, he only had two sons.
The second point that these parables shared was that in each they called for a longing and organized search to find them. The shepherd left the 99 sheep to go out and find the one. The woman lit a lamp and swept her house diligently to seek out and find the lost coin. And although we do not have a record of the father organizing a search for his lost son, I am confident that he went daily to gaze down the road to see if there was any sign of his son coming home.
The third and final commonality is that when the lost was found, there was a time of celebration. When the sheep was found the shepherd called his friends and neighbors together and said, “Lets rejoice for I have found the sheep which was lost.” When the woman finds her lost coin, she calls her friends and neighbors together as says, “Lets have a party for I’ve found the coin that was lost.” And when the prodigal son returned home, his father had a great feast to celebrate his lost son’s return. Jesus said, “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:7, KJV).
The point is, lost people are important to God and there should be an organized search to find them and bring them in. There should also be excitement and celebration when these people are found.
The Value of the Saved
Jesus also taught that born again Christians are extremely important to God. Consider Matthew 11:9-11. “But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (KJV). Basically, what Jesus is saying is that in the Old Testament, the anointing came upon a person and worked through that person. However, in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit resides within man and supernaturally empowers him to do the work of the ministry. In the Old Testament, people needed to approach God through a priest, but now we can come boldly to the throne of Grace. The fact is, Jesus is saying that the follower of Jesus Christ is extremely valuable to God.
Understanding Value will create Impact
Statistically speaking, growing churches rely on 50 percent of the people being involved in volunteer activities. Today’s successful church is volunteer intensive. This means that the pastor and the staff are no longer expected to do all the work in the church.
Every single person in the church has been given spiritual gifts and should be given the opportunity to use them to advance the church forward. As pastors and leaders, we must acknowledge the importance and value of each member and encourage them to be the ministry that God has called them to be.