After only a few years of being a pastor and church planter here in north Georgia, I have managed to come up with one brilliant thought about church and ministry (please note the sarcasm): church doesn’t make sense.
You can go to all sorts of seminars with the latest, coolest people and learn all types of new and innovative approaches but that’s no guarantee for success. You can pour thousands of dollars into outreach and spend tons of time planning the perfect worship service but that’s no guarantee for greatness. There’s no formula…there’s no magic potion…there’s no mathematical equation that promises to grow a great church every time.
I know purpose-driven churches that have made it and some that haven’t…emerging churches that thrive and some that die…seeker churches that grow and some that dwindle. Why? It’s simple. Church doesn’t make sense! In my time as a new pastor I have often tried to catch the newest fad and ride the wave to success and greatness…only to wash up on the shore later, beleaguered and frustrated.
Why doesn’t church make sense? I think the answer is simple. Because God doesn’t want it to make sense. Once we figure out the formula we have a tendency to believe that we no longer need God. I have no clue why our attendance was down in May but we’ve been growing like crazy in June. All the experts will tell you that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. All I know is that as long as I understand that I don’t have this “church thing” figured out, I realize even more my need for God’s presence and guidance through the process.
So, I’m glad that church doesn’t make sense. If that realization moves me closer to a proper understanding of my need for God, then I’m content to remain in the dark.
The Word will be the only thing that will always remain – and your people need to hear! Press on even when “it” doesn’t make sense!
I wish I had thought of this post. Its a very good word.I will probably link it on mine after I see what kind of response my new post gets
Jim,I was excited to run across your blog today. We haven’t talked in a while, but I hope all is well in GA.I don’t know if I would say “church doesn’t make sense.” The “church” was instituted by God and is nurtured by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps our concepts of “doing” or “leading” a church do not make sense because we lose sight of the purpose of the church. Essentially, the church of the NT was devoted to the apostles’ teaching, prayer, and some various forms of ministry.After some time of shrinking, or at least stagnation in both numbers and spirit, our church has seen exciting growth (again, both in spirit and numbers) over the last two years as the people finally caught the vision that we teach the truth of Scripture and show people that we care. The community around our church no longer sees us as the 200+ year old building on the corner. Instead, they see us as a vital part of the community–because we have shown them that we care. When people have problems in the community, they now come to us. And we help them by taking them to Scripture.Part of it may come from a change of philosophy in evangelism. Rather than trying to see how many doors we can knock on in a given night, we are beginning to build relationships. Now don’t get me wrong, we still knock on doors and share the gospel; however, our biggest return comes from those we have invested in. Dr. Reid mentioned this in a recent blog as well (http://www.alvinreid.blogspot.com/).Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Keep up the good work in GA. Next time you make it to NC, come see me.Evan
Hey Jim:I like to say it another way: church is messy because we are messy. But God can do some serious Windex on our souls :-).I like this blogging thing. Of course I am never short on opinions and thoughts. I am a Baptist preacher. Be blessed.
Evan- Good point. I’d like to think you and I are basically saying the same thing but maybe in a different way.Dr. Reid- Honored to have you comment on my post. Again, very well said and aptly stated. Messy indeed!
Jim, I believe we are saying the same thing. However, as I have learned over the last few years, we need to choose our words carefully so we are not misunderstood nor taken out of context.
Jim:Thanks for visiting my blog today at 2:52 pm. 🙂
Ben-That “sitetracker” thing is nuts. I had no clue something like that existed. Now I feel like “Big Brother” is watching me wherever I go.
“Once we figure out the formula we have a tendency to believe that we no longer need God”Isn’t that the truth…kind of echos Dr. Page’s comments in his article.
Jim,Thanks for your honesty. It was a great encouragement.Fletcher