Monday, July 11, 2011

Stained Glass Chess Board

A few weeks back, I heard someone make the comment that they were in the midst of a huge discussion which would result in a major strategic move for their church.

I realize that in today's culture, it would be ridiculous to ignore the sage words of wisdom available to those employed in churches about ways to reach out, market to, and engage both the unchurched as well as the disenfranchised who have left. There are numerous sincere people and quality organizations which exist to help in bettering both the person serving and the church they serve in. But when did it begin to feel like serving in ministry was analogous to Coca-Cola trying to capture a larger market share?

I find it disheartening when, instead of simply doing the best at what you are called to do, some individuals feel the need to always be on the move to take their ministry "to the next level," or whatever the latest marketing buzz-phrase du jour happens to be. Perhaps my simply-a-layperson perspective looks at this with a faith that's a bit too child-like, but I tend to take Christ at His Word when - for example - in Matthew 23 He gives the parable of the three servants. When the servant who actually did what they were called to do, to what they were assigned to, was confronted by his master, “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’" (verse 25).

Now, if you sincerely feel God pulling/urging you to move your ministry or organization to something bigger and better - however that may be defined - then by all means, go. Run. Follow your heart and the Spirit. The unfortunate reality is that too many people try to mimic or reinvent the wheel in patterning their ministry, their mode of dress, or even how and what they say because Rock Star Pastor X is doing it or has done it. When we begin to quote and live by the theology of how to do something or how to interpret a specific passage of Scripture because Rock Star Pastor X has said or done it, that goes beyond being influenced by them as a leader. That way lies idolatry.

I don't play chess. I'd love to learn how, and I probably will some day. But even my uneducated self knows that the king is a more powerful piece than the pawn in the game. Why are we so apt to try and remove the power from our King to let Him just move, shake and shape us? We don't need to nor should we control the board.

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