God's will, what is it for you? For the church? For the world? The basic plan is to bring salvation to all mankind so they can share in God's love for Jesus. We were created to witness, and participate in this amazing love. The church has been chosen for this task. (Ephesians 4) But what about us? How do we fit in the church in such a way that we fall into God's will and bear fruit? How is it that we do the do work of God, be led ourselves by the Holy Spirit, and stay humble at the same time?
I am sure that you get your fair share of forwarded emails. I got one the other day linking to a pastoral sermon about what we could do for the pastor; how we could pray to make him a better servant of Christ. Now don't get me wrong, I want every pastor to be awesome, but I was bothered by the tone of how we could serve him. I do think we need to pray for our pastors-- bless them, but again, the tone of this sermon was almost pastor worship, which I am totally against. Before you stop reading, let me give a you couple of positive examples. I once heard a pastor speak on Father's day. He preached about how fathers need to get at the back of the line to serve their families. The sense of humility in his sermon was amazing. He asked the question, "did you know that shepherds lead from the back? That was nearly 20 years ago. His form of leadership was to serve, always getting at the back of the blessing line. I have a friend that is a missionary and he is the same way. We give him a gift, and he passes it on to the poor.
It is interesting that people seem to want to lead or be led. I also find that when challenged, they rarely mention God as the one they are following, and when they do, that in itself can be an excuse for bad behavior. Read Romans 12, there are some biblical gems in there. "Do not be conformed to the world," "don't think more highly of yourself then you should." That's is good stuff. My point is simple, we need to be a church, not a corporation. People need to have significance and value in church to achieve their destiny in God. God is not looking for ability, but availability.... amazingly He is already good at everything and ready to empower us!
One of the main problems that I see in the church is the improper use of authority and/or a corporate mentality (which is not biblical). That along with a good dose of control, which is often used as a tool to cover up insecurity, the church fails to reach more folks for Jesus. I will say it again, people need to have significance and value in church to achieve their destiny in God. The church does not need power brokers or control freaks. Those types of leaders end up with a following that will most likely never reach much in the way of potential, and in the end, probably be a huge stress on the leader just to keep them going.
So what is the plan for jump starting the church and providing significance and value for the average parishioner?
-1 We need to pray corporately. We need to identify our prayer worriers, intercessors and storm Heaven as a group. This is intercessor led prayer.
-2 We need to stop being spectators at church. That's right. We are not there to give the Sunday sermon a thumbs up or down. We should be there expecting God to use us for something. Maybe it is us, that is there to do some of the feeding, not just to be fed. We may not take the pulpit, but that doesn't take us off the hook for doing something for God.
-3 Leaders need to staff for their weaknesses, not try to create clones. We're a body, and we can't all be armpits. If you are an evangelist, then you better raise up a teachers, pastors etc.
-4 I once attended a church that had the motto "reach, teach and release." No one got released. Why? The churches teaching didn't allow others to participate at any meaningful level. There was no mentoring, and little encouragement for ministry outside of the what the pastor was called to do personally. They filled the programs like Sunday school, but they had no place for missionaries or other ministries. As a church, we must train people to do something and then let them do it! How long do we have to show up before we let someone clean a toilet, do an announcement or greet folks at the door? For God's sake, you can get a paying job at Wal*Mart doing this stuff. Character? It is built by allowing folks to make mistakes while teaching them the truth.
-5 I attended another church that has the motto "passion, vibrancy and relevancy" or something like that. Same old stuff. Musical worship, teaching and coffee. I read Acts and I get excited about Jesus. Some days I would rather just stay home and listen to worship music and read the Word, dreaming about being used like that. One of these days I want to turn around and hear someone saying, "gold and silver I do not have, but what I do have I give to you, walk in the name of Jesus!" (And hopefully it's not the firing of the head of the deacon board.)
-6 We desperately need to hear form God. Who are your prophetic folks, your dreamers and interpreters? Are you listening? Are they tested? I always find it funny that some people seem to hear from God, and we don't test it. I would think a pastor would be overjoyed if he had someone that was hearing from God that he trusted in his church. Well of course, until it conflicts with their vision.
-7 Love, we need love. We need sold-out lovers in the church, ready to lay down their lives for one another. And with it mentoring, really showing someone else how to do our job as toilet cleaner, secretary or pastor. What would happen if we were left in the dust by our protégée? Is our ego so big that we don't want someone else to be better that we are?
-8 Lastly, power. We need His power, not our own understanding. We need more power as the days grow evil. If you have been on this earth 20 or 30, or 40 or 50 years, you'll see that things have changed.