Monday, 31 October 2011

'Is the church where you would like it to be?'

This canny question (a 'strategy' question, not a geographic one, you understand)was put to me by a mature and savvy Christian when he was talking to me about church membership a while ago.

What, as a pastor, should one say? The knee-jerk reaction might be to say 'yes' as this gives the impression of a CEO in charge and in control and succeeding in getting things where one wants them to be. Thankfully I am not sufficiently CEO material and I paused before answering.

'No' I said. A further short pause. 'I think I would be worried if the church was ever where I wanted it to be'. Thinking it through as I spoke (not to be recommended unless you are put on the spot) I added, in the course of fruitful discussion, that if the church was where I wanted it to be, it would suggest that I was in charge of the church rather than the Lord. Also, it implied that I was setting the church's agenda, and if I was satisfied with where it was it suggested something woefully lacking in my desire for the church, or something woefully complacent in my assessment of where we were spiritually.

Yet - there surely is a place for planning and having a 'vision' for one's church. One can hardly lead effectively without it.

But - a good question he asked, don't you think? How you answer is likely to say far more about you than it will say about the church. It makes one think: where would I like the church to be? What would I like to see changed for the better? Where are we weak? What should I be concentrating on? In a way these questions are never far from the mind of a pastor, but sometimes the demands of the immediate cause one to lose sight of the ultimately important.

I am thankful that this man and his wife, with their children, have joined us. May we all work towards making the church more what the Lord would have us be.

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