Category Archives: Church

Praying for Others

The dynamic of prayer in the fellowship of the Saints is a dying art and practice.  Here are some guidelines for the art of what is known as intercession.

in·ter·ces·sion

Moses Prays for Israel
Moses Prays for Israel
/ˌintərˈseSHən/
Noun
  1. The action of intervening on behalf of another.
  2. The action of saying a prayer on behalf of another person.

There are many examples of intercessory prayer in the Bible.  Paul is a good source, he communicated what he prayed to the the people for whom he prayed.  One of the best and most detailed prayer comes from Colossians 1:9-14:

9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NASB)

So here are the items in Paul’s prayer that you can use to pray for others.

  1. Pray that people be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.
  2. Pray that people have spiritual wisdom and understanding.
  3. Pray that people walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
  4. Pray that people please God in every respect.
  5. Pray that people would bear fruit in every good work.
  6. Pray that people would increase in the knowledge of God.
  7. Pray that people would be strengthened with all power so that they would be steadfast and patient.
  8. Pray that people would be filled with joy and would not forget to give thanks to the Father.
  9. Thank God that he qualified them to be a saint in the Light.
  10. Thank God for rescuing them from the domain of Darkness and that they are in the Kingdom of His beloved Son.
  11. Thank God that their sins are forgiven and that they are redeemed.
  12. Thank God that they are in fellowship with you.

Notice that I didn’t do anything special. I just hijacked Paul’s prayer and personalized it.  Paul was praying for actual people in Colossae, pray for the people who sit next to you in church. The following week, share with the person that you prayed for them. Depending on your personal knowledge of the person you are praying for you can be more specific. Depending on your level of study and understanding of the passage you can add detail to your requests.

Some other passages that are intercessory in nature:  Philippians 1:9-11; Ephesians 1:15-21; Ephesians 3:14-21.  List some others in the comments.

 

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Olive Grove Church

I have pastored Nuevo Community Church for the past 21 years.  This year we are changing the name of the church to “Olive Grove Church.”  The reason we are changing our name is not simply to be trendy but we feel the need to start a new chapter in the life of the church based on the following philosophy of ministry.  I decided to put this on the blog for those of you who are presently a part of NCC to highlight our direction and give a foundation statement for the name change.  For those of you not a part of NCC I would love to hear your thoughts.  

In order to carry out our mission and purpose,

“Nuevo Community Church exists to glorify God by equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.  The result is that every man, woman and child has the opportunity to hear and understand the Gospel and accept or reject Jesus as their personal Savior”

the following proposal and philosophy of ministry is presented for discussion, emendation, approval, and implementation.

The Scriptures often use the picture of trees, fields, harvest and fruit as the metaphor for both growth and community.  The following is a short list:

  • Psalm 1:3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
  • Jeremiah 17:8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.
  • Isaiah 44:4 And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water.’
  • John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

This picture of organic growth is an important one for the purposes of the church. Can we make a jump from the metaphor to structure in the church without violating the sense of the text? An affirmative answer reveals an attractive model for personal and corporate growth and reproduction in the church context.

The Believer as a Tree and the Church as a Stream

The Bible often mixes its metaphors. I will take some liberties with this practice to try and paint a picture of church importance and structure.

The godly man is pictured as a tree growing by streams of water. The result is that the tree is strong and fruitful. Water in the Scriptures often signifies the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The believers proximity to the Spirit is the source of sustenance, strength and growth. The Holy Spirit’s main focus of ministry is not purely individualized, rather it is concentrated in the body of Christ, the church.

So the logical jump is the godly man grows when he is attached to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in His church. We believe this to be true and so our other ministry purpose statements reflect this:

“Nuevo Community Church exists to glorify God by equipping the saints for the spiritual service of worship. The result is that every man woman and child who is part of the church in Nuevo will be: Transformed by the renewing their mind; Fulfilling their purpose as a chosen vessel; Called to the praise of the glory of His grace; Cultivating a lifestyle and attitude that are filled with thankfulness.”

and

“Nuevo Community Church exists to glorify God by equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. Every man, woman and child who is part of the church in Nuevo will be conformed to the image of Christ and to: Attain to the unity of the faith and Arrive at maturity in Christ by growing in the knowledge of the Son of God.”

The method by which God has designed Christian growth is for the believer to be in active fellowship with His Spirit and His Body, the church.

The Church as a Tree and Stream

As we broaden our focus outward to the ministry and growth of the church, we have a choice. To continue with the model or to introduce a new one.

This is the discussion that the Elders of NCC have needed to have in light of the purchase of land and the possibility of growth: How will our growth be managed? What will it look like?

The typical growth model these days is to just get bigger in one location. Big churches are seen as healthy churches. So we have a Saddleback, Harvest, Revival, etc. Buying a large piece of property may have communicated to some that our growth model would be this particular one. But from the beginning I have tried to discourage that model. We spoke about a campus that housed ministry as opposed to simply being a large meeting place.

“According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, 94% of all existing churches have less than 500 attendees, and two-thirds of these have less than one hundred.  Churches of more than two thousand attendees represent less than one half of one percent of all churches in America.”# This reality speaks to our own view of the future and seeing the value of the smaller church model as more reproducible, more likely to produce discipleship context and community, more likely to encourage initiative-style evangelism.

The philosophy proposed here is that church size and location should have primary geographic Great Commission responsibilities. The primary outreach focus of the local church should be an area within reasonable geographic reach of the main meeting place. In our case: Nuevo-Lakeview-Juniper Flats-Romoland- Perris. An approximate 5 mile radius is the target size.

As far as church size (this is not a dictum and there could be exceptions) it seems that 500-750 people provides a good limitation on the upper end. So the range of people is somewhere in the vicinity of 150-750 for the ideal functioning of a local church.

What is being proposed here is first the adoption of the mission of the local body at NCC to take primary responsibility for the gospel ministry in Nuevo. Second, the embracing the planting of churches to form a “grove” of churches. Our growth and focus is never limited in the Bible to simply our immediate neighborhood; Jerusalem formed a center that led to the uttermost parts of the earth. And so we desire to be global in focus. But we also want to reach our Judea and Samaria. In fact, the vision encompasses a network of Olive Grove Church sites throughout the 215/60/15 corridor and triangle. These Churches that would take primary responsibility for their 5 mile radius.

Our perennial problem is implementation. I am proposing that we spend a good percentage of our energy as a church and board to putting feet to this proposal.

What’s next? The who, what, where, and why questions need to be augmented by the how and when.

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Steve’s Five Points

Steve’s Five Points
(originally Wally’s 5 points, but nobody* knows Wally)

The following 5 points are the essential characteristics of healthy church life.

  1. Exegetical Preaching. The preaching of the church must be based upon God’s Word and the purpose of preaching is to explain a particular text of Scripture  – 2 Timothy 4:2
  2. Genuine Expression of Worship. The church must display genuine worship which points people toward the Creator   –  John 4:21-24.
  3. Emphasis on helping people to share their faith. Personal evangelism must be a high priority for the local church  -Matthew 28:18-20; Colossians 1:28; 1 Peter 2:9.
  4. Servanthood. the church must accept all people and truly care for them. An attitude of putting others first and serving Jesus Christ is emphasized  – Philippians 2:1-11.
  5. Love people rather than use them. We want everyone to reach their full potential in Christ and we want to avoid using people to reach our own ends – John 15:12-17.

*”nobody” meaning nobody in Nuevo where I currently pastor.  No disrespect to Wally Norling (May 4, 1925–April 26, 2010) who was the District Superintendent of the Southwestern District of the Evangelical Free Church from 1966 to 1992.  He was responsible for planting over 35 churches during that time and these are “his” five points as communicated to me when I served in the Evangelical Free Church from 1985-1991.

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Questions for God

Our Sunday night gathering here at NCC is called “The Well” and for the summer we have been doing a question and answer format covering apologetic, theological, social, personal and biblical categories.  Here are some of the questions from the last few weeks:

  • What is absolutely necessary for salvation? Is saying the prayer enough? How much does a person have to understand?
  • Is abortion or adoption mentioned in the bible?
  • Is abortion a sin?
  • When do you believe life begins?
  • …about abortion. what if its a rape victim?
  • Can you lose your salvation
  • Why is God depicted as male in the Bible and in the incarnation of the son? Is that more than how he would be received in Jewish culture?
  • How can people claim to be christians if they bomb abortion clinics? They claim that abortion clinics kill babies, but they aren’t wrong by killing those clinic workers?
  • Will god ever forgive Satan
  • if god knows everything did he know that satan was going to turn on him
  • ive heard that when god returns he will return with firre, is that true and if so will he burn all the nonbelievers
  • is it possible really repent when you have done something knowing you are going to repent afterward? can there be real repentance?
  • Will pigs ever fly?
  • How do you truly repent?
  • How was your watermelon?

Our questions left over we still have to tackle:

  • Why do we who are called saints still sin?
  • What does God think about dating? We are given directions about marriage. But what about relationships that are romantic but are not married or necessarily headed that way? Is there a place/guidelines for an undefined romance?
  • Does the Bible say anything about defense of ones self? people keep using the example of killing being ok when it is in defended of ones self (or nation) I just keep thinking of what Jesus did when he was attacked, he submitted.  Is standing up for ourselves a Christian idea or is that a human instinct?
  • Hey is it a sin! to eat! BEARS?
  • Explain predestination
  • Can you be baptized more than once?
  • Mathew 6:25 stats that God does not want us to worry about what we where or eat, does this mean doing so is considered a sin?
  • What makes drugs bad? Does the Bible itself shun it? Is it because it is bad for your health? Or is it bad because its illegal?

See you this Sunday night for some good singing and spiritual stimulation…

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Leave Your Church…

Here is a trend I am getting tired of…

Glenn Beck, the political broadcaster, is urging people to leave their church if those churches are concerned about social justice.

Today on the Radio Program Pastor’s Perspective (Calvary Chapel with Brian Broderson) a caller was encouraged to take his “tithe” and use it in his own ministry to children at the church instead of giving in the way his church was proscribing.  I did not agree with what the caller was describing, and we never heard the hosts asks for any clarification, nor did they attempt to contact the church leadership, nor did they tell the caller it was inappropriate to call the show for their answer to that internal church issue.  The advice the caller was given I thought was horrific.  Essentially they told him to disregard his pastors, make his own decisions, basically stay at the church in a state of rebellion and do your own thing because your leaders are a bit sketchy. Never once did they give the leadership at the church any benefit of the doubt that the caller may have misrepresented the situation.

I really hate that behavior.

There is a glaring lack of understanding of the nature of the church and the nature of church leadership.  The section in your theology book is called Ecclesiology.  It is important.  Here are some thoughts:

  1. Church issues should be dealt with internally.  Check out Matthew 18 for a very clear order of grievance settlement.
  2. Some people know more than others, some people know nothing at all. Who in their right mind would go to Glenn Beck for church answers?  It baffles me.
  3. Beware of people who when they hear of your church problems immediately tell you to leave your church or act unilaterally against your church leadership, especially when they don’t take simple steps to hear the other side.  This is basic.  Those who miss this are novices in things of the church of Christ and should not be trusted as authoritative sources for your life in Christ.
  4. Deciding where to belong in a church community is an important decision, don’t make it lightly and don’t simply make it based on size, programs, music, popularity, building, etc.  You should select a church based on sound doctrine, quality leadership (a plurality of elders is a good Biblical criterion), Biblical teaching, genuine worship, and a fully developed gospel ministry that incorporates social presence with the glory of God being central, locally and globally.
  5. Many people make a decision about a church based on the pastor.  A pastor should have some level of qualification commensurate with the position.  The training that a pastor receives can be more formal (Seminary) or less formal (innumerable quality non-Seminary options), but it must be a demonstrative competence.  It is more than dynamism, entrepreneurial skill, charisma, inheritance, but rather a developed character and competency in leadership, scholarship and things of the Spirit.
  6. Your church leadership is responsible for the care and nurture of your soul (Hebrews 13:17).  Church is not a consumer good, a commodity or a preference.  Church hopping is not a Biblical practice.  Submission is an important characteristic with regard to church behavior.  Authority is vested in the leadership of a local body.  For all of these reasons you should take great care in selecting a church to belong to, and then you should belong!!!  As a pastor I speak of a “call” to the church in Nuevo. You should consider your belonging to the church as a “call” as well.  God placed me here;  I will stay until God places/calls me elsewhere.  I know authority has been abused in many contexts before, nonetheless we are not free to redefine the church of which Christ himself is the head.

More on this in later posts…

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I Love Mexicans

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

This marvelous prayer is from Ephesians 3:13-21.

I never understood how enlightened Christians could entertain racism, latently or blatantly.  In Southern California, racism is often directed towards Mexicans.  I love Mexicans.  I abhor racism.  It is completely un-Christian. Here is what the passage from Ephesians tells us:

Every family in heaven and earth derives its name from the Father

Is there a preferred nation to God?  The answer to that question is no.  This may anger dispensationalists, but there is no longer an elect nation.  This may anger patriots, but God loves Mexico as much as He loves the USA.  Much of the emphasis on the word “all” in the New Testament is not an emphasis on individual “all”, but corporate “all”; all with reference to all the nations as opposed to one elect nation.

And they sang a new song, saying, Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

By Your Blood you ransomed people from every….

TRIBE, LANGUAGE, PEOPLE AND NATION

What a great portrait of the fullness of the church.  The picture in heaven includes Mexicans.  Some of them are illegals.  Jesus died for the nations, our heart must love the nations because Jesus had a focus and purpose in his death and life and kingdom which CENTERED on the nations.

I love Mexicans, maybe more than Canadians.  They are our neighbors, we view them as the modern American equivalent of the Samaritans.  Many of you need to repent.

Here is a great interview with President Vicente Fox at Westmont College.

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Christians Are Mixed Up

According to recent polls cited by the USA Today, Christians are a mixed up lot.  Read the article, More U.S. Christians mix in ‘Eastern,’ New Age beliefs.

Some of their observations:

•26% of those who attend religious services say they do so at more than one place occasionally, and an additional 9% roam regularly from their home church for services.

•28% of people who attend church at least weekly say they visit multiple churches outside their own tradition.

•59% of less frequent church attendees say they attend worship at multiple places.

Pew says two in three adults believe in or cite an experience with at least one supernatural phenomenon, including:

•26% find “spiritual energy” in physical things.

•25% believe in astrology.

•24% say people will be reborn in this world again and again.

•23% say yoga is a “spiritual practice.”

It is an interesting phenomenon that I encounter often as a pastor.  This article was no surprise to me, in fact, I was surprised that the numbers weren’t higher.  Here are some of my observations:

Anti-intellectualism

Thinking is not in vogue in the church.  Reading is not a common practice, and if it is, it does not include books that challenge the intellect and build a strong intellectual or doctrinal foundation.  It is the rare Christian who reads philosophy, has mastered logic or engages in apologetics.  Many Christians do not evaluate their belief system against the Scriptures nor do they engage in Systematics.  Can I add that many pastors are in the same category.  As a result, the beliefs of believers are muddled. They are regularly exposed to shoddy and contradictory preaching, rarely systematic, rarely doctrinal.  The result is Christians remain mixed up, and even worse feel that it is acceptable.

Scientific Climate and corresponding High touch climate

We live in a scientifically influenced society where people are desperate for corresponding scientific “proof” for their faith.   So we have institutions dedicated to Creation research/Intelligent Design.  We ignore science when it challenges our belief system, we appeal to it when it “supports” it.  We seek its solace as it brings “certainty” to our faith.  Yet on the other hand we ignore it when it comes to evaluating weirdness, like speaking to the dead.

In our scientific age, we crave a corresponding non-scientific, esoteric experience that is beyond explanation.  We base our conclusions on major and eternal issues on emotion and visceral reactions.  It is an odd combination:  Christians seek scientific affirmation of faith, then seek irrational affirmation of faith in their practice and in their “non-scientific” areas of doctrine.

Post-modernism

Post-modernism is a view that elevates the subjective and diminishes the objective (very simplistic definition of a very complex idea).  Post-modernism has infected the thinking of the average person in our culture.  It reveals itself in statements like, “It is true for you but not for me”.  The philosophical underpinnings of Post-modernism feed the propensity toward the mixed up ideas displayed by Christians.  It really isn’t necessary for people to have organized and consistent ideas, rather it is important for the subject to feel good about their ideas.

The subjective approach looks for doctrine and church to bring emotional satisfaction, not intellectual consistency.  This may not be true of the sophisticated post-modern who may go to great lengths to think and justify their philosophical position, but it is the effect upon the average church goer.

So even though communicating with the dead is outside the boundaries of Christian doctrine and science, the average Christian dispenses with those boundaries because they find comfort and solace in what speaking to their dead relatives brings.

Consumer mentality brought to spirituality

People treat church like they do shopping or picking a restaurant.  Denominational loyalty is diminishing and church’s marketing toward felt needs has produced a shopping environment when it comes to church.   I recall seeing an advertisement in the newspaper from a church offering a television as a prize give away item in an attempt to lure visitors.  Worship services are like concerts and sermons like motivational messages, geared toward the relevant and the cultural context. Graphics, titles and content all garnered from the media (TV and movies).

Hence people feel free to jump from congregation to congregation, hearing the same regurgitated sermons that are aimed at their felt needs.  Story, media and illustrations fill the sermons, content takes a back seat, doctrine is rarely spoken of at length.  They have very rarely had any long term systematic teaching.

Anti-authority

The most telling quote in the USA Today article is “In short, we believe our own experiences are authentic, and no “authority” can say otherwise.”

“Our own experiences rule the roost.”  This philosophy applied to the church is antithetical to the function of the church in the life of the believer.  Maybe the most challenged idea in our postmodern culture is the idea of authority.  The appeal of many of the evangelical/non-denominational movement is the diminishing of a clear cut authority.  The more traditional expressions of church, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Mainline  Protestant (Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian) found their people on a mass exodus to the free movement.  Now that the shine has worn off, many are moving back to some of those churches, but desiring the experience without the authority.

The equation of anyone’s opinion with the position of the church or the position of the pastor/elders is not a biblical one.  In fact the reversal is now the case, the individual is evaluating church and doctrine and elevating themselves above the church.  This is now seen as the norm.

Interesting.

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Do We Need the Church?

I mean the institution, the local gathering, the building etc….

Someone asked me for a reason to go to church, and what should be looked for if answered affirmatively.

This really is a legitimate question because there are so many options. In my links here on The Temple I have ample resources for people in terms of information, sermons, Bible studies, etc. With social networking I can keep in contact with multiples of people at the same time. I just spent sometime counseling on Facebook chat while watching the World Series, very efficient. ChurchTV broadcasts live church services complete with a time for offering. Twitter has Bible studies restricted to 140 character comments, really cuts down on that guy in Bible study who won’t keep quiet. So what do we need the church for???

Before I give my reasons for the importance of the live local church, let me be clear: Every Christian belongs in a church, without exception. There is no good reason to be apart from a local Christian fellowship (church) for any length of time. It is not optional. Here are the reasons, they are rooted in our understanding of the Trinity:

The Church and the Father
As a child of the heavenly Father I am not alone, He has many children. We are spoken of as adopted They are gathered together locally in the body of Christ, the Son. Fatherhood is not random nor does a Father isolate His children rather He gathers them together in family units, called the church.

The importance of community cannot be understated. Belonging and identity are solidified in the church. The Father draws us together into the body. There is an underlying strength that goes with belonging to a tribe, and the church is the best tribe as it is sired by the Heavenly Father. It is the best heritage available and to be a son or daughter of the most High God is the best source of identity available. This impartation of belonging and identity occurs in the church and not outside of it.

It is in the body that I find accountability, my weaknesses are exposed in community and good community helps me to strengthen areas of my character that need sharpening. The longer you stay in healthy community the more benefit you receive from this, as our real issues are hard to suppress in community over time.

The Church and the Son
Church and all that goes with being redeemed has to do with more than my individual experience. Healthy church attacks my inclination towards selfishness that is heightened especially in America with a utilitarian mindset, that is, if it isn’t practical or personally beneficial, it isn’t necessary. Church helps me destroy my selfishness. The church was founded by Christ, and he models the behavior and attitude that accompanies church attendance. You cannot be like Christ outside of the church as demonstrated by these two phrases, one said by Christ, one said about Christ: “The Son of man came not to be served but to serve” & “who considered others more important than himself”. These characteristics happen in the context of the church.

The Church and the Spirit
The Spirit of God is the great gift giver and the gifts he gives are intended to be used within the context of the body of Christ.  They are not personal or private, but corporate and public, intended for the edification of the body.  The Holy Spirit is the architect  and engineer as well as the contractor who builds the church.  He supplies the church with the tools necessary for success and for the growth of the church to the glory of God.  Much church weakness can be attributed to the missing members who fail to supply the necessary gifts given to round out the body.

The mission of the believer and the mission of the church have large areas of overlap, it is rare that individual Christian mission would fall outside of ecclesiological support or authority.

To place yourself apart from the body of Christ places you outside the will of God.  To place yourself outside the body of Christ places you outside of the purpose of God for you.  To place yourself outside the body of Christ is to ignore God’s creative intention.

I don’t stand behind these truths because I am a pastor,  I am a pastor because of these truths.

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Getting Along in Church

I ran across a marvelous quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his book Life Together:

“A pastor should not complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God.  A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men.”

It reminded me of some basic minstry principles.

God is at work in people, it is His work and He works in His own time. My job is to come alongside and assist.  Much like a nurse in surgery, I simply supply a service to God and His people by ministry.  Since growth is a work of grace in the life of a believer I should show grace to those who are not as “far along” in their maturity process. My job is to help people find their next step in growth not to complain that they aren’t mature.  This is hard because we then have to “put up with” or as Paul puts it “forbear with one another.”

People are the object of God’s love, not program and not event. Often the source of pastoral grumbling comes when the people God has placed in my charge get in the way of my goals.  I get frustrated at inconsistency and immaturity, half-hearted effort, shoddy work and have to remind myself that people in church often are on the way, not finished products.  When I don’t have this view I get caught up in a process by which to manufacture the outward signs of success in ministry.  Large crowds, new programs, “excitement”, and other fun things but not always appropriate to ministry to the body.  This kind of ministry often excludes those who are not easy to deal with or who have little to offer the machine.

Growth in Christ is a life long project not a quick fix. Longevity in ministry is not the norm any more.  Studies vary but show that the average length of time in a church is somewhere around 54 – 58 months (Moving on Moving Forward: A Guide for Pastors in Transition by Michael Anthony and Mick Boersma).  About the same length of time that people finance their car.  You may be shocked by this, but it takes longer than that to arrive at maturity in Christ.  Since we have a short view we have conceded to short term strategies that match that length of service to judge pastoral and church success.

These ideas are critical to the minds of not only pastors, but congregants.  People often switch churches based on marketing and whim.  Problems in church with people and pastors are not necessarily good reasons to move on to another church.  Church is not Starbucks vs. Its a Grind.  Church is community, the Scriptures often using the family metaphor as descriptive of the church.  This is a connective metaphor;  it is hard to leave family.  Even more connective is the body metaphor: I can’t do without my little toe; I am very reluctant to part with it.  When my body is sick, unaffected members don’t jump ship, they suffer together. When we stay at a church over the long haul we begin to learn something we cannot learn on the church circuit.  God doesn’t quit on me; and He is remarkably still at work in you.  Our job is not to complain about one another to one another and to God, rather it is to recognize the path of grace in each and every one.  God is at work in us.  Let me help you on the way.  Help me along the way.

Moving on Moving Forward: A Guide for Pastors in Transition

By Michael J. Anthony, Mick Boersma

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