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View from the Zoo  

So this week, we had the distinct pleasure of taking our two grandchildren to the zoo.  They'd been waiting all summer for us to join them and having crammed the car full of strollers, kids and a picnic lunch, we finally arrived.

Almost immediately, I was struck by a rather odd impression: Where are all the animals?

Whether for reasons of political correctness, budget cuts, or a trendy understanding of proper zoo etiquette, the place has become much more about habitats and environmental education than about the animals themselves.

Understand that this zoo is Chicago's premiere animal attraction.  Yet they didn't even have one single elephant.  The monkey house—once loaded with primates—is an animal ghost town.

It is as if the zoo is now satisfied to live off the glory—and reputation—of past years, but lacks a real commitment to what is supposed to be their true priority and passion.    The zoo has become something less than a zoo.

In a strange way, our trip to the zoo reminds me of many evangelical churches today.   We celebrate the fact of the Great Commission.  We love to talk about “outreach” and strategize about ways we can be more “missional.”

But so many of our churches have so few honest conversions, we are rather like the zoo: living off the glory of what might have been our past.  And, to mix metaphors here, a lot of our mega churches have seen most of their growth from what my pastor calls “sheep stealing” rather than growth by conversion.  It's the flock that's been found shifting around to other pastures.

Sadly, many of us lack a real commitment to what is supposed to be our true priority and passion.    The church has become something less than a church.

It's time to re-commit ourselves, our resources and our churches to what Jesus has defined as our true priority and passion: making disciples.  And making disciples always begins with lost people.



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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Jon Gauger Media 2016