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I spent some time in a junkyard Sunday afternoon.  That is not my normal Sunday afternoon routine, but circumstances on Saturday led to a trip to the automotive graveyard on Sunday.

You see, on Saturday, my oldest son decided to do a little work on his 1998 Mustang.  Those models are plagued with seat belt retractors that wear out in short order, and that bothered my son.  He inherited his annoyance of insignificant things that do not work from me.  Little squeaks and noises I hear  while driving my car drive me nuts.  So much so that I have been known to pull off the road and find the source of the annoyance and irritation, or walk to my destination if I cannot find it.

He has more ability than I do when it comes to mechanical things, and decided to pull the seat belts apart to fix them.  In the end though, he was not able to fix them (to his credit, he worked on them several hours and it was a tuff job).  We were left with two seat belts that were broken and in need of replacement, which was expensive according to the dealer.  So, after church my son was off to the junkyard.  Over an hour later he called me to let me know he was stuck and unable to get a couple of seat belts off of a deceased Mustang sitting in the yard, so off I went to assist (remember, I suck at this).  I got there, and tried using the tools that he had brought with him to remove the bolts that were holding it all together  (these were my tools… and I have very few of them, so his choices were limited).  There was no way the tool I had was going to work.  It was just NOT the right one for the job.  We ended up leaving to go and get the proper tool for the job, and 20 minutes after we got back to the junk yard we had the two seat belts removed and left to go home to install them.  The right tool made all the difference.

I used that last line to teach my boys a life lesson.  Get the right tool for the job, it will make it easier and is more efficient at getting the desired result.  Lesson learned.  But I just want to mention an application for the church as well: use the right person for the job to be done.

From the very beginning, God designed the church to have many parts, or many “tools” to use to build His Church and His Kingdom.  The Scriptures teach us that each tool has its place or task, and that all the tools are necessary for the church to be effective and to be efficient to achieve the desired result.

Having the right person in a staff position is key.  Most people in the church realize this.  Andmost churches think that hiring the right staff is all they need to do to get the job done.  We tend to overlook that when it comes to filling volunteer positions, but it is just as important to have to have the right people in those positions.  They will make or break your program or ministry.  After all, the only thing worse than having no one in the position is having the wrong person in the position.  You are asking for trouble when you get up and announce from the platform that you need someone to step up and lead a program or ministry.  You will likely end up with someone who is not gifted in that area of ministry or someone who does not have the ability as far as skill or leadership is concerned.  We have all seen that happen, and it never ends well for either party.

Having the right tools made a world of a difference in getting my sons car fixed.  It also makes a difference in this world having the right people leading and doing ministry in the church.  You have to have the right tool for the job!

This weeks quote comes from Andy Stanley and his leadership podcast that I have been listening to.  You can listen to his podcast by going to iTunes and subscribing to it.  Great stuff!  Ok, here is this weeks quote:

“The local church rarely gets serious about change until they run out of money… We’re preoccupied with paying the bills, not reaching unchurched people.  What does that make us?”

Here are my take-aways from this:

  • A church that thinks it can hold things together and stop the exodus of people by doing what they have always done is sadly mistaken.
  • Playing it safe so that you do not upset the church members that have been there a long time will not cause the church to grow.  In fact, it will sink the ship faster because no one is being reached and then change will have to come, and it will be forced change, not planned change.
  • It is much easier to plan the change yourself.  It may be difficult, and there may be some resistance, but at least it will be change you are planning and not change that is forced upon you.
  • When the focus is money and not people we will have a harder time making the necessary changes.

Thoughts?

Many times churches get this idea that being busy and starting more things is the same as being a success.  It is easy to think that the more ministries you start, the better the church must be doing.  But here is the deal, more things going on is NOT the goal.  The goal should be to see lives changed.  You could be a church of 50 or 500, and have 25 different ministries, but if it is not producing life change in people, you are not being effective or successful.  Here are a few more thoughts:

  • If the ministries you are doing now are not producing any life change in people, you need to get rid of it.
  • If starting a new ministry means another job for an already stressed out, overloaded staff member, you probably do not need it.
  • If your idea of growth is doing something else, and not spiritual maturity in people, you likely do not need to do anything else.
  • If you think that keeping your people busy is more important than letting them get out into the world to make a difference and have influence, you do not need another ministry.
  • If you have to get up and beg people to attend a ministry event every time you have it, you do not need it because it must not be producing life change in people, or they would come.
  • If you have to guilt people into doing something, you do not need to do it.  It obviously is not an effective means to life change for your people.
  • Just because the church down the street does it, does not mean you need to do it.
  • Just because you have always done it, does not mean you should still be doing it.

So, what are your thoughts?  Do you think less is more or more is more?

Speaking of the way we do church, Mark Batterson (in Wild Goose Chase) says:

“…I’m afraid we’ve turned church into a spectator sport.  Too many of us are content with letting a spiritual leader seek God for us.  Like the Israelites, we want Moses to climb the mountain for us.  After all, it is much easier to let someone else pray for us or study for us.  So the church unintentionally fosters a subtle form of spiritual codependency.”

This is why it is so important for the church to encourage and equip people to be in the Word for themselves.  It is also important for people to know that the church can provide opportunities for growth and equipping, but it is still up to the individual believer to take next steps in his relationship with God.  The church cannot make anyone do that, and the church is not responsible to do that.

What do you think?  Has the church made people spiritually codependent?

This morning our Pastor announced to the church that the financial situation at the church has necessitated some major changes for the coming year.  We have had many families lose their jobs this year, and with that the offerings have also suffered.  With that news, it was then announced that two of the full-time staff pastors would be leaving to find new positions.  I am one of those.

We have been here in Wichita for right at a year and a half.  We have loved the opportunity that we have had to be involved at Glenville, and have learned a lot in the time we have been here.  The people love God and love others.  I would have to say this church is a great example of what a grace-filled church is all about, as they are so very accepting of people.  The staff has also been a blast to work with.  We will miss everyone dearly.  This has been a great experience for us.

Our next steps do not simply include a change of churches to serve in.  After a long time of prayer and seeking counsel, I feel that God is moving me into another direction in ministry as well.  I love music, that will never change, but that season of ministry is coming to a close.  I will be seeking a church in which to serve as their Lead Pastor, or some other Administrative/Executive Pastor role.

As I said, we will miss the people that we are currently serving along side with.  It is never easy to move on. But we are excited to see what God is going to do with us in the future.  I love what Job said in Job 23:13-14:

“But he alone is God, and who can oppose him? God does as he pleases, and he will do exactly what he intends with me.”

We covet your prayers for our family as we take our next steps.  We hold on to the knowledge that God knows what He is doing with us.  We just want to hold on and go for the ride!