Lost Momentum

Let off the gas, and the car will slowly lose momentum, merely because of the laws of physics. Friction, coming from all different directions, will ultimately slow you down without any assistance from the brakes. An incline on the road ahead will contribute to the swifter loss of momentum, and a decline will make the inevitable take a little longer.

Diesel truck operators know how to brake beyond letting off the pedal and without wearing down the wheels’ friction braking system. It is called “Jake Brakes” — and results in a loud roaring sound as the engine is used for braking and slowing down the forward momentum. [1]. At times, you will see a posting coming into a small town or city . . . .

Turn off any machine, and the motor’s momentum will slowly dissipate. With many of today’s motors, there is also an internal braking mechanism that is part of the motor’s design. The motor’s design aims at quickly slowing the remaining momentum that resides as kinetic energy. [2]

Most all of us can identify a time when we lost “momentum,” Some will say that they have lost their mojo. We were aiming at a goal, and something has caused the forward progress to be impeded, and we are slowed down. We hit a significant bump in the road, and we have let off the gas. We struggle with staying upright on the horse, pulling back on the reins, and slowing down. For some, the forward movement can be regained quickly; for others, it takes longer.

There will be those who will point to Covid as the cause for what has disrupted the forward progress of a ministry or a local church. For some, it may be plausible, but it is not probable. They lost momentum long before this hill!  

Surely, Covid has been one of those bumps! Cultural and political issues have also made it difficult to stay upright. No doubt that it was hard (if not impossible at times) not to pull back on the ministry or pastoral reins. 

However, may I suggest that for some ministries and churches, the momentum was lost far earlier. The loss of momentum was actually aforetime. The pandemic and/or political potholes of 2020 only further slowed down any momentum that may have been stored from the past. They let off the gas and/or were already applying the brakes before 2020 arrived. Their taillights were already red, long before the intersection that was ahead, before it was even in sight.

The question is . . . . How would you know that?  

There are those ministries and churches that would like to point to 2020 and make the claim that what is taking place is due to the turbulent times we have and are experiencing. That claim is not implausible, but it may be improbably. The loss of momentum well proceeded 2020. Like some politicians, there are those who want to blame Covid, BLM, President Trump, Wokeism, and all the disruptive elements that have made it more difficult for everyone.

The momentum was lost when the mission of the ministry and church was lost.

— that of reaching a lost world — 

That is the church’s mission. 

Everything else is part and parcel of that mission, but it is not the mission.

The mission is not — “As you go into all the world . . . . 

  • pray 
  • sing praises to our Lord
  • fellowship with God’s people
  • lean and study God’s Word
  • worship the Lord
  • glorify God

. . . . 

Those all contribute to the mission. 

They are part of a larger mission!

. . . . 

BUT

They are not the mission.

The mission is not an inward focus, but an outward focus on the lost world.

“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

. . . . 

That biblical truth is evident when you realize that if these God’s mission for us, then He would have taken us to His home the moment we were saved. We would all be faring much better at all these and more in His presence. But instead, we have been left on earth to bring something with us!  

His mission is our mission — Luke 19:10 — to seek and to save that which was lost!

Jesus took on humanity because seeking and saving was His mission!

Jesus hung around sinners because this was His mission!

Jesus talked to Nicodemus in the night because it was His mission!

Jesus talked to the woman at the well because this was His mission!

Jesus was crucified because that was His mission!

Jesus would rather teach than eat because reconciling people to God was His mission!

Jesus rose from the dead because He fulfilled the aim of His mission

Jesus said, LOOK, the fields are white. He said that to His disciples because seeing the lost was His and is our mission!

Everyone one of the Gospels defines the mission which was given to us . . . . 

  • Matthew 28 — “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
  • Mark 16 — “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” 
  • Luke 24 — “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. “
  • John 20 — “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” 

And again in Acts 1, and throughout the book of Acts!

 

What are we doing that will matter 60 years from now?

I say 60 years from now, because 2021 is the anniversary of Faith Baptist Church. 

Someone was on mission, as an electrician by trade, not a pastor. 

His name was (Pastor) Dick Nelson. 

What he did in organizing, building, and reaching the community made a difference years after he left this world.

 

No, some lost momentum because they lost sight of the mission long before 2020. They went inward, not outward. They became focused on the institutional instead of the relational. It wasn’t Covid, BLM, President Trump, the Woke, et al. — It was the ministry leaders and pastors who lacked the focus of our Lord, no less possessed by the woman at the well — “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,” She got the mission right!

She didn’t know a lot. In fact, she had a lot of things theologically wrong. In fact, she had a lot of things wrong about practical life and living – five husbands later. But she left her waterpots behind — the very reason she was there in the first place was to get water — and went back to the city and said — “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”

No, for some, they may point to a pandemic, culture, society, movements, and the like to explain the downward direction of their ministry, but it is really the decisions they made long before 2020. Their claim may sound plausible, but it is about a lost heart to aggressively reach out into the community that God has placed us in as believers, and corporately as “the church.” Leadership has failed, and facts are stubborn things.  There is little effective outreach, few are being reached by those in ministry, not to mention those under that leadership, and some church ministries are in serious decline!

Some have gone to the “Jake Brake,” and the loud noise is a lost world falling into eternal separation from God! [3]

 

. . . . 



1. https://www.truckingtruth.com/wiki/topic-91/jake-brake

2. There are a number of ways to speak about the loss of momentum — decreasing, fading, falling, reducing, abating, declining, depreciating, diminishing, and/or dropping. 

 

3. Link:  A Great Read – By Amy Carmichael — Daisy Chains!

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