Lately I’ve been convicted of the fact that we as churches seem to forget that we are all on the same team. This isn’t a competition. This isn’t about individual churches, about whose music is best, whose pastor is a better speaker, whose kids ministry is the coolest. It’s about a connection that runs deep, a connection that binds us all together….it’s about Jesus. It’s about being His Church. I have a hope that one day in 2008 or 2009 all of the churches in our area will come together for an event, a time of worship, a time of connecting as the body, a time of reconciliation and a time of prayer and dreaming of what we as a whole can do to turn Anne Arundel County upside down for Christ. Most people think of Christians as divided, but what if they thought of us as….OneChurch!?
This is a post that really challenged me in this area by Perry Noble
In response to my post yesterday…I’ve been thinking about the way that I, as a pastor, often respond to negative things I happen to hear about other pastors and ministries.
I began thinking…
#1 – What if pastors sought to pray for other pastors rather than tear them down?
We criticize and condemn others because of insecurity in our own lives…and the more we find wrong with others the more our personal insecurities are revealed.
BUT….WHAT IF we, upon hearing negative talk, we hit our knees for the person being talked about? What if we prayed for any untruth of what we’ve heard to be burned away? What if we prayed that if the rumor is true that God, in His mercy, would get the pastors attention and call him to repentance?
#2 – What if pastors began to realize that God is not limited to a particular formula of doing church?
One of the reasons that we, as pastors, attempt to tear down others is because they aren’t doing things the way we think they should be done.
In the earlier days of NewSpring my arrogance caused me to think and proclaim that we were actually doing church “right” and that others were wrong…now I am realizing there is no right and wrong way. The questions that need to be asked are–#1 – Are people being saved? And…#2 – Are people taking their next step in their journey with Christ?
NewSpring is a way of doing church–not THE way…and it takes different types of churches to reach different types of people. AND…I am WAY comfortable with that.
#3 – What if pastors truly celebrated the success of others rather than saying, “Yes, they are doing a good job over there–but I heard…”
I want other churches and ministries to be successful–period.
Several years ago whenever I would hear about someone’s success I would try my best to find a nugget of information that would make them look bad. Sort of like, “Yeah, they are reaching a lot of people–but how many of them are REALLY growing?”
Lately I have came to realize that God blesses churches in different ways…and that when He does I need to celebrate it rather than speaking against it. Once again, the only reason a pastor cannot celebrate the success of others is insecurity (and jealousy as well!)
#4 – What if pastors did not allow other pastors to criticize other pastors/ministries in front of them?
Seriously, what if we were willing to lay the smack down and say, “Hey bro…what you are doing right now the Bible actually calls slander…stop it!”
Pastor Steven Furtick had some awesome things to say about this here…awesome stuff!
#5 – What if pastors spent more time trying to learn from those who are different from them rather than trying to discredit their ministry?
I have a philosophy of ministry that I used to not have–here it is, I can learn something valuable from any ministry that God is blessing–period!
I want to learn from people who do ministry differently than me…and it is amazing to me how stupid and insecure pastors and church leaders are when it comes to this.
For example–anytime I mention TD Jakes or Joel Osteen on this website we have idiots e-mail in with their “concerns” about issues in regards to their theology or teaching style. (As if the person e-mailing is perfect and has it all figured out!)
BUT, I’ve said it before and I will say it again…I have an incredible amount of respect for both of those men. God is blessing their ministries in an incredible way…and I know there are tons of things that I could learn from them. Just because you are trying to learn something from someone doesn’t mean that you believe exactly like them!
(And for those who feel like you can only learn from just like you…please repent to God for being shallow and ridiculous!)
By the way–I’ve had the privilege of meeting Joel…but haven’t gotten to have lunch with Bishop Jakes yet…if anyone can make that connection I would be much obliged!!! 🙂 (I’m serious!)
#6 – What if pastors spent more time focusing on God’s Word and their own church rather than attempting to be watchdogs of everyone else’s ministry?
Dang…that was good…even if I say so myself!!!
I’ve got to be honest…I really don’t have time to tear down the ministry efforts of others. Seriously, I’ve got enough to be concerned about in trying to be a good husband, father and pastor. The day I have the time to rip apart other people’s ministry is the day that my ministry will be fruitless and dead.
(That’s the only way I would have the time…you see, if a vineyard is producing fruit then you really don’t have the time to peak at the perceived fruitfulness–or unfruitfulness–of others.)
I once heard TD Jakes say, “The problem with most pastors is that they never leave the locker room–they always feel the need to compare!” WHEW!
Pastors…you and I can experience TRUE freedom when we compare ourselves to our calling and God’s vision for our ministry and NOT the church down the road or across the country! We will not be held accountable for their ministry–we will be held accountable for ours! (Hebrews 13:17)