What if…

I was recently at a Church Planter’s Roundtable and a statement was made that rang in my ears. I can’t remember who said it, but they were quoting someone else (whom I can’t remember either). But here it is:

“Would it be okay for God to change your community and not use you to do it?”

We as church planters can sometimes come with such an arrogant attitude (and I am not immune to this myself) that we think is humility. We say, “I am going into this community and God is going to use me to change it!” Is that something that God blesses? Who am I to say that God is going to use me? I don’t see that type of attitude among the apostles. But I have at times thought the same thing, especially early on. The more I’m at this thing…which has only been 2 years 7 months mind you…I realize that God may want to transform my community in spite of me…and that’s okay!

If someone else comes in and reaches more people, then we all win! But I see too many of us who think we are being humble and leaning on God, when in reality we may be pridefully saying that God IS going to use ME to do His work. What if He doesn’t? Is that okay with you? Do you think God would honor that type of attitude?

The Lord despises pride Proverbs 16:5 (NLT)

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Even more scary is this verse in Job 40:12: “look at every proud man and humble him, crush the wicked where they stand”

If you are planting a church and you haven’t been crushed yet, you likely will. It may be from the enemy (most certainly that will happen), but it may come from God, because of pride or just a prideful area in our lives. As Jesus said in Matthew 21:44, “He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” I prefer to fall on Him and be broken, thank you very much; because I have been on the other side before.

Max Lucado under the section, “Celebrate The Significance Of Others” in his book Traveling Light, says:

The truth is, every touchdown in life is a team effort. Applaud your teammates.
An elementary-age boy came home from the tryouts for the school play.”Mommy, Mommy,” he announced,”I got a part. I’ve been chosen to sit in the audience and clap and cheer.” When you have a chance to clap and cheer, do you take it? If you do, your head is starting to fit your hat size.

Later in the same book Lucado writes:

Ever wonder why churches are powerful in one generation but empty the next? Perhaps the answer is found in Proverbs 15:25 (NASB) “The Lord will tear down the house of the proud.”
God hates arrogance, He hates arrogance because we haven’t done anything to be arrogant about. Do art critics give awards to the canvas? Is there a Pulitzer for ink? Can you imagine a scalpel growing smug after a successful heart transplant? Of course not. They are only tools, so they get no credit for the accomplishments.We may be the canvas, the paper or the scalpel, but we are not the ones who deserve the applause.

Church Planters (and I speak to myself here too), God most certainly desires to change our communities, but what if He may have someone else in mind to do it? It could be even someone who is already there too. Just be humble and faithful to the vision He’s given you. Feed the sheep and God will expand His kingdom and teach us along the way.

Psalm 25:9 says [The Lord] teaches the humble His ways.

Stay on your toes, leaning and moving forward and God will advance His Gospel. Never rest. Keep moving. Seek to finish the job. But remember Who is ultimately in control and Who is ultimately going to get the credit. Be careful not to try and steal His glory, because He doesn’t give that up! Perhaps our attitude should be, “God is working in my community. How can I be a part of what He is already doing?

Just a thought. What do you think?


1 Response to “What if…”

  1. 1 scrabblenut
    March 26, 2008 at 5:51 am

    It is comforting to see you write this. Becoming a prideful church (or rather avoiding it) has been on my heart a lot lately. I think the biggest mistake we can make at this point is to pat ourselves on the back and say “look how great we are – we are serving God better than anyone else!” That attitude was the beginning of the downfall of our previous church home.

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