I’m a pastor. I’m grateful to serve the Lord by serving His people. Deeply.
Somewhere along the way, and at different seasons, it’s easy for folks like me to get confused about whose church we lead. There’s a subtle temptation, often encouraged in denominational circles or ministry networks, to “grow your church.” Like it’s even up to us.
Sure, I shouldn’t dress up as the Statue of Liberty and wave at passing cars to convince pagans to like God. Another thing I shouldn’t do is predict the end of the world and be wrong a lot. I probably shouldn’t invite Borat to speak at our church. Or even wear skinny jeans. I want people to come back.
I know that there’s things I shouldn’t do and things I should that can lead to people thinking positively or negatively about the church I help lead. But I really don’t think that I’m in charge of getting people to take the next step for God. That’s up to Him. I am to be obedient and faithful to His teachings and encourage the people in our church to do the same. When we follow Him in love, He does big things through us.
When the emphasis is on us instead of Him, we get tempted to attract and bring folks into our churches. Flashy things. Most of them just make the church of Jesus sound trite. If you advertise programs or styles to attract people, you’ll constantly need to “keep up with the Joneses” to keep the folks who’ve come for those things. It’s a constant battle to offer people things other than the simple message of the Gospel. It’s a good rule of thumb that what you use to attract people will only have to improve in order to keep them. If you used a big event, you’ll have to do a bigger one next year to top it.
As a pastor, I want to get better about simply being simple. I don’t want to “make waves.” I want to ride them. To quit trying to make a splash and just get wet. I want to avoid the danger of trying to do big things for God rather than just following Him and responding to the big things He’s already doing.