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SGtoDC: Next Section

March 31, 2010

Bet you never thought you would see that headline on our blog. We are shifting gears here as it relates to the Sicilian Guide. I’m sure I could go on and on about all of the things we have done and you can do to make sure your church remains un-attractional. You will be able to add your names to greats like Jeremiah and Moses who in many ways seem to have more failure than success. Well, that is failure measured by modern day standards.

In fact by our current measure of success one would wonder how to score the ancient prophets. Jesus pronounces a woe not on the prophets, woe you really blew it, but instead on those who put them to death.

I still remember my first “how to” church book How about you? You know, the ones that told you if you spent the proper amount of time preparing your sermons you would find success. The one that said if you did everything with excellence your church would grow.

Now this book was quick to say it was God who was building it and I have no doubt that this is true. The problem is not that God did something, it is the assumption that if you simply follow their formula God will do the same with you.

No, the book has 10 principles for growing a dynamic church. The premise is if you just follow these principles you too will have a mega church that is the largest in your state, well as long as your state isn’t Kentucky, Texas, California, Illinois, Colorado, Georgia or Oklahoma, those states are already taken. Hey that leaves you 43.

And what do people do? They begin to copy and listen and attempt to cajole their members into getting on board. Talk about a great way to make a church un-attractional. Spend all of your time trying to copy some church in some other area that seems to think that if we did it this way you can too. Treat your members not as children of God gathered for a purpose and instead treat them like a a bunch of people you need to train to recreate church greatness.

I’m not even going to tell you the 10 ways because guess what, there are other books that have baseball fields and everything else. So which formula do we follow? Which guaranteed path to growth do we get on? Why are they not identical if that is how God works?

Why is it that we assume God wants everything bigger? You know what I mean by bigger. Yes he wants people added to his kingdom but that can happen many different ways. You ever thought about that? Why is it we are only interested in copying what gets big?

I always get a kick out of the people invited to speak at conferences. They are always those who have made it big, well or at least had the privilege of being hired by a place that is really big. What is the assumption? That they must be doing something right and we can learn from them. Really.

I’m not saying we can’t learn something from them but think about it, what similarities will someone have in a group of believers consisting of 100 brave souls as compared to one of 5,000? The first time they mention coffee bar there could be a disconnect. The experiences are so different and ministry on such a different level I think they are actually hard to compare. We will be unpacking this in greater detail on posts to come.

I digress. Think about it, what actions did Peter and the other apostles take to see 3,000 souls added to the church at Pentecost? Better yet, if it worked there why don’t we see them replicating their actions throughout the book of Acts? Our favorite verse for all things mega only happens in one place at one time and is never duplicated again.

Instead we find a church meeting in houses and apartments and messianic synagogues. We meet people praying down by the river and even watch people converted in prison.

This notion that we just step and repeat is crazy. We talk about it like we are honoring God, look what God did, and yet we are doing anything but. Are we not just honoring ourselves and what God did with us? Seriously, I think it is great to celebrate what God has done but when we start telling people you can see this happen too, have we not crossed a line? It is great to be inspired by those who have seen this but when does inspiration become impersonation? Whose to say that one is better than another? Results? Have you looked to see how many big churches are simply populated with people from smaller ones?

I think we bring a truckload of stress into the church because of this which brings me to why this bugs me.

Do you want to know why this bugs me? Well if you have actually made it this far you are either sick or willing to take some more punishment. It bugs me because a lot of really dedicated men and women who really love the Lord find themselves discouraged, not because they are not doing God’s will but because their ministries do not measure up to this standard.

Can I say this again and bold it? So many people who love the Lord give up or think I must not be called or I must not have what it takes because we have never seen 3,000 souls come to Jesus or I am dealing with problems and troubles while these people at conferences sit around saying, “Look what God has done.”

I meet ministers who are passionate and love the Lord and got into ministry because they wanted to make a difference who don’t think they are because the current measure for church success says they aren’t. They think something must be wrong because the people I minister are difficult and at times hard to love. They stay up late at night lamenting their current situation feeling abandoned by God not because He has but because they are told success comes thousands.

This really drives me crazy. It drives me crazy because ministers who have no drive or are just doing it to get a paycheck or have no desire to see the kingdom grow, they keep working because they just don’t care. So the church kills the passion of so many souls who want to do God’s will because we have created this idea that God’s will only gets done if your church gets bigger and bigger or you can tell everyone the right things to do.

I know I know, I sound like someone who is bitter because the church I work with hasn’t grown. No wonder I took the time to tell you how to be an un-attractional church, I was just getting you ready for what was to come.

I will spend the next posts discussing this in greater detail. I have some studies and facts that I think will help if you are one of these famished souls, wanting to bring God glory but feeling like a failure or inadequate because of the measuring stick used in the church today.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
1 Corinthians 12:21-26

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