On Thursday’s at FamilyLife we get the chance to pray together as departments. Monday’s we gather as a department to pray for the submitted prayers of the ministry. On Thursday’s it becomes personal. For the last 1 1/2 yrs I’ve had the privilege of being a part of Bob Lepine’s devotion and prayer time since the job I just left was originally under his leadership. A few weeks ago, Bob showed us a video from the Resurgence conference. In viewing this I was exposed to a young, vibrant and bible teaching pastor, Matt Chandler. And he challenged my thinking about a lot of things. But, especially about thinking “large”.
For most of my life I’ve been a “dreamer”. I’m very seldom content with where I find myself at in life, always anticipating the next “big” thing. It could be a job change, family event, ministry challenge or something other than what I’m currently doing. Some of that is simply due to my God-given wiring. It’s who I am. But, when it gets in the way of being content in my circumstances, as God calls me to be, then it becomes a deterrent or even detriment to my spiritual growth. So, when Matt Chandler spoke about one of the biggest barriers or dangers that the church faces today being “bigness” my ears perked up. He spoke about the fact that everyone wants to be the next big “speaker” or “star”. He was speaking to a group of pastors at this conference so that was the reference point. But, don’t we all want to be “known” at some level? Don’t we all want to play a bigger part than we are, even for good things. We want to be known by others as a great giver or gifted teacher or even in a strangely humble way, a “behind the scenes” person. Even at FamilyLife, it’s hard not to think about “bigger” when it comes to reaching the masses with the good news of Jesus Christ. We throw around the term that we want to grow 10x in 10 years. A very good goal because we know more people will be reached with the Gospel. The question we constantly need to ask is if that is God’s goal or our goal?
Chandler’s plea to the audience at the conference was, “Can’t we all just PLAY OUR PART WELL?” Maybe it isn’t our part to reach the masses, have a large church, speak to thousands, teach hundreds or go overseas to minister to the nations. Maybe we are just supposed to do what we’re doing while we let God do the growing. And, when we do that and our ministry, organization or impact doesn’t grow, maybe it’s not our fault. Maybe it’s not what God had in mind to begin with. See, God very rarely, if ever, does things conventionally and as reasoned by man. In fact, I can’t think of many ministry’s (or any) that grew and was sustained in growth that didn’t start out by someone or a few just wanting to reach their sphere or neighbor or group in their community. So, if growth is the driving force behind what you’re doing, maybe that’s why it’s not growing.
I’m taking to heart the admonition to “Play my part well” and let God use the abilities and skill He’s given me to begin with to do what He wants me to do with them. It doesn’t mean I can’t dream or envision or ask what He’s doing but my pursuit of Him needs to be the purpose of my effort…to be singly focused on pursuit of Him…not for what it might result it. I’ll let Him take my simple obedience to follow Him and turn it into anything He wants. Hmmm…sure takes off a lot of pressure to “succeed” as the world defines success…bigger and better.