I read an article today that disturbed me. Not because of it’s content, but rather it was the content it lacked.
It was from a Christian website and about Church Leadership to do with multi-site campuses and campus Pastors. It caught my eye as multi-site church is an area of interest to me, and I love God’s church, and seeing it increase in fruitfulness. At the end of the article however I noticed it was missing something. It was like when you take a bite of food, and have that sudden realization that there’s no salt, and think to yourself, “This needs salt.”
So what was the proverbial salt missing in the article? God and His word.
That’s right, I read through the whole long article that contained the words church, churches, pastors, leaders, growth, strategy, and skills…. but not one Bible reference or scriptural encouragement, not even one mention of “who” the Church is really all about… Jesus! I mean shouldn’t His name, or His words at least come up in the conversation about His own Church?
Now if this was one incident, I’d probably not be bothered too much, but for me, this article was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”. Why? Because I’ve noticed that this has become a common trend in articles on Church Leadership over the last several years.
Now I realize some leaders are also business people, and when out in the business world, they are careful to avoid Christian words and phrasing that a non-believer wouldn’t understand. And I can get behind being relevant, as long as “relevant” doesn’t equate compromise. However the problem lies in that the language we’ve chosen to speak out there, has now become how we speak in the Church.
There’s a lot of talk about Church leadership nowadays, but unfortunately many are starting to leave out any mention of the Chief Leader of the Church and what He has to say about it. Yet He is the reason for it all. Without God and His word there is no concept of “church”.
Now to be clear, I’m all for systems, models, and different methods of doing ministry to increase our kingdom effectiveness. But I’m beginning to wonder if we feel that our models are getting close to perfected, and have forgotten our desperate need for the Perfect One’s involvement in all we do?
In all of our ministry activity, we need to be careful that we do not lean on the “arm of the flesh” more than we do the “everlasting arms” of God.
2 Chronicles 32:8
“With him is only the arm of the flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.”
“Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes the arm of flesh his strength…”
We must not lose sight of the fact that Jesus didn’t die for an organization, or a business. He died for people, the Church, an organism. Does the organism need organization? Decidedly so! But it must not become the organization, business, or franchise in the process. If as a Church leader you’ve been feeling like you’re just part of a big machine, you’ve most likely lost sight of the nature of the Church and need a reminder of our roots.
The late Dr. A. W. Tozer, author and pastor, once said, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”
In light of this statement, and hopefully before you grow defensive in reaction to this post, I pray we honestly ask ourselves, “Who is responsible for 95% of what’s happening in our Church or ministry, is it us or Him?” If the answer is “us”, then we need to get back to leaning on Him.
2 Corinthians 13:15
“Keep examining yourselves to see whether you are continuing in faith. Test yourselves!”