Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Orderly Ship

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (I Corinthians 14:33, NIV)

Show me a church with confusion and chaos, and I will show you a pastor with little or no administrative skills and with no clear vision from God for his people.

Perhaps Robert Welch sums it up best in Church Administration: Creating Efficiency for Effective Ministry. He writes, “When we ‘do church,’ we are to do it in a proper and fitting manner. There should be order, not chaos. There should be sensibility, not insensitivity. There should be consistency, not discord. There should be guidance, not irresponsibility” (p. 3).

God is a God of order and when we work within that order we have peace. When churches are not in order, Satan is the clear winner. Churches with disorder have a high membership turnover, are unusually busy, and accomplishments come at a high price.

Think of a church as a sailing vessel transporting cargo through life. The church administrator in larger churches, or assigned leader in smaller churches, is the navigator. He holds the rudder and through skill and experience guides the ship through troubled waters. Yet, the navigator does not take the ship where he wants to go; he takes his directive from the captain (pastor) of the ship. Likewise, the captain (pastor) takes his orders from a superior authority (God) who tells the captain the overall strategic plan of the ship in the larger fleet. The captain (pastor) consults with other officers on the ship (Trustees, Elders, and Deacons) and directs the navigator. The navigator (administrator) moves the rudder to take the ship on the course needed to carry out the objectives set out before him.

The pastor receives sailing orders from God through the Holy Spirit and Scriptures. The pastor consults with others in the leadership of the church and then directs certain individuals whom the Holy Spirit has empowered to carry out the mission and objectives of the church. All are not navigators (administrators), but each has unique responsibilities in meeting the goals set before the church. Pastors make a colossal mistake when they fail to entrust the steering of the vessel to the gifted, skilled, and experienced administrator.

Some pastors are taking their congregations for a ride and the whole congregation is feverously working, but never reaching God’s destination. If you find yourself on such a ship, you need to begin asking God what He wants you to do about it. It is sad to spend one’s precious life in busyness on the ship and fail God’s larger plan, only to arrive in eternity to face the consequences of being part of a ship that was not in the right location doing the right action during the spiritual battle. God is a God of order.

Prayer: God, help my church be a place of order by helping me be willing to following the policies and procedures developed too aid the church in God’s work. Help me have a willingness to follow all rules, policies, and procedures even when it is difficult. Help me to see that this is what you expect of me and if I love you and your church, I will be impose self-discipline and practice order as your Word teaches me. Amen.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Learning to Worship

“I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1, NIV)

Have you ever noticed in worship that we sing about God (testify) and not to God in true worship? I was thirty-three years old and pastor of a seven-hundred member church when God stepped in to show me that I did not know how to worship Him. We would sing, “God is so good. God is so good. God is so good. He’s so good to me.” We did all the right stuff. We had the prelude and the postlude, the pastoral prayer, meditation music, hymns, solos, drama, etc. The problem is that we were performers on a stage. You see, worship is what you and I do that excites God’s heart; it is not the well fitting of all the bits and pieces of a well choreographed service.

When God convicted me of the lack of true worship, I learned to imagine God on His throne, surrounded by the twenty-four elders with Jesus on His right side, as people of every language, tribe, and nation bowed in worship (see Revelation 7:9-14). I could then join in the mass chorus and sing, “YOU are so good. YOU are so good. YOU are so good. YOU’RE so good to me.”

The focus was a shift from talking and singing about God, to talking and singing to God. A deeper more personal relationship was formed with God as we talked and fellowshipped. My goal shifted, as a pastor and worship leader, to helping others learn to see God “high and exalted” and to truly worship Him.

What about you, when you join in corporate worship, do you sing to God? Do you talk to God? Or are you testifying to others about the goodness of God?

Prayer: “Lord, teach me to worship. Enroll me in your school, and teach my by your Spirit. Help me to learn anew what pleases and excites you. Amen.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Uncertain Times

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35, KJV).

In these last few weeks, many have panicked as the stock market has fluctuated up and down and major banks and financial entities have merged or gone under. Investments and savings accumulated during high earning years to provide a safety net in the latter years – gone, or at least greatly diminished.

Without question, these are perilous financial times for our country and serve as a reminder to us that heaven and earth will pass away, but the Word of God will always stand. In His Word, he tells us to "Trust in the Lord with all our hearts, lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV).

The truth is that any of us, given the right set of circumstances, could loose every earthly possession in a relatively short period. When loss comes, be it financial, health, or death of family, peace comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and through family and friends. Nothing else really matters. Therefore, during these perilous times, stay anchored to Jesus, family, and friends and you will come through all right. Grow these relationships.

Today’s Prayer Thought: “Lord, help me to learn the lessons of life as I, along with those around me, experience these perilous times. Help me to acclaim to the world that my faith is not in man and the things of this world, but in my personal relationship with you. Amen.”