In our lectionary study group, one of the participants told this story:
Every Spring my wife becomes concerned about the lawn. She worries about the weeds. My response to her is this: if we focus on fertilizing the lawn, making sure it is thick and strong, the weeds will not have a chance.
Too often, the weeds get the focus in the church.
Good illustration for use with the parable of the wheat and tares.
Another participant shared a quote from a family member who is also a minister: The greatest waste of a person’s life would be to spend hours and hours in church service only to find out they never were really were part of God’s Kingdom.
Sunday’s sermon needs to bring up a warning about false security in the church (without manipulation or guilt peddling).
Last point (also from the study): How many times do we focus not on who is involved, but who is not. God often uses a remnant when the rest of the focus put their attention elsewhere.