Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Biggest Problem With The Church

The biggest problem I face as a pastor in a church is not troublesome people. It's not hypocrisy. It's not Christians who claim to be followers of a loving Saviour who act anything but loving. It's not lazy or apathetic people who refuse to pitch in with all the work that needs to be done. It's not a lack of great leaders who will step up and lead with excellence and passion. It's not the busyness of people's schedules and their choice to skip church services. Although all those things do happen and drive me crazy on occasion. They really aren't the real problem I face. They aren't the real problem any of us face when it comes to building God's church.

The real problem is this. Every part of our mission we are incapable of accomplishing. Let me state it the other way around, "We are completely incapable of accomplishing any of our mission." Now if you said that to any business leader, they would tell you to quit, throw in the towel, or to change your mission to something you can accomplish.

We can't change our mission. It's not ours to change. It was given to us from Above. Our mission is to transform lives (Matt 28:18-20). Our mission is for find people far from God and lead them to Christ so that they can know the joy and wonder of knowing Jesus. Our mission is to enable people to flourish in their lives as they live their lives in the power of the Holy Spirit.Our mission is to build a community of people who are filled with God's love and experience a level of relationship and connection only possible through God's Spirit. Our mission is to help people discover the will of God for their lives and walk in their destiny, fulfilling the potential that God has placed in them.

And therein lies the problem. We can't do any of that! We just aren't smart enough, powerful enough, good enough to do it. Not even a little bit of it. Our problem is that the ONLY way for us to get ANYTHING of significance done we absolutely NEED God to be the one who accomplishes it. Every time we move one inch forward in our mission, every time one person becomes a follower of Christ or becomes more who God made them to be or begins to find and fulfill their potential...every time any one of these things happen it is a miracle that only God can do.

The good news is that God is very much willing to accomplish it and even to accomplish it through us. He is the God who does what is impossible for us to do.

So what does all this mean to us. It means that we must stop trying to do church without God. We must never ever try to accomplish our mission unless we are confident that God is with us, using us, helping us and working through us. It means we must maintain a humility and brokenness before God that never tries to do things in our own strength. It means pride and self-accomplishment are our worst enemies. It means we must be desperate for God, faithful in prayer and seeking Him. It means we need to begin and end everything we do (and through the middle) with dependence on the Holy Spirit and prayerfulness. It means we must really believe the words of Jesus that, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for their is the kingdom of God." It means we must practice what Jesus said in John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

So the biggest problem the church will ever face is the problem of trying to do the church's mission without God. And the greatest accomplishments the church will ever get done in will happen only as we humbly engage in the power of the Living God.

I have seen the hardest of atheists give their lives to Jesus and serve Him with joy. I have seen selfish, angry people be softened and become some of the most loving, gentle people I've ever known. I have seen broken people healed and bound up people delivered. It can and does happen! Maybe you are reading this as an non-believer and you think it would take a miracle for you to be converted or saved. You are right! Only God can do it. But I'd be willing to bet right now while you are reading, God is moving on your heart and drawing you to Himself working on you to do the miracle only He can do.