Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

The Lights Are On

September 30, 2009

The doors are open.

The lights are on.

The gospel is being preached.

This is the response that I sometimes give when I am at a gathering of ministers and am asked how things are going at the church.

I would love to be able to respond with all kinds of reports of miraculous growth, but, that isn’t the case.  Our church has shown little statistical change over the years.  We have been pretty steady with slight increases and decreases.   Some people come, some people stay,  some people go, the numbers remain about the same.

As a pastor, I sometimes feel as though my success or failure is determined by the numbers.  Certainly that impression is reinforced whenever I attend ministerial functions.  The speakers are always individuals whose ministries have shown dynamic growth.  Growth seems to be held up as the indication of success.  Therefore lack of growth, would seem to indicate failure.  Since my church does not show growth, it would seem that I am a failure as a pastor.

I do not accept that conclusion.

I do not believe that statistics tell the whole story.  I believe that God continues to work in us, and through us, as individuals and as a church.  Only God knows the full story of the impact that is made in the spiritual realm by the large number of small churches, like ours, in our country and around the world.

The doors are open.

The lights are on.

The gospel is being preached.

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Showtime!

February 18, 2009

Many years ago a pastor told me that he felt that we basically were in sales.  I did not like the comparison then, and I still don’t like it now.  Jesus is not a product available for purchase. 

I have also known my share of pastors who have treated ministry as if it were a career in acting.  They were always careful to keep their “pastor’s image” bright and shiny and on display; at least in public.  I like this approach to ministry even less than the salesman approach.

I have been the pastor at my church now for eighteen years, and was involved in various other aspects of ministry for a few years before that, and yet I have blogged very little about ministry or being a pastor. 

I remember way back in January of 1991 when were were trying out at the church.  I stood and looked in the mirror before going to Sunday School.  I smiled at the reflection and thought “showtime”.  I thought that ironically, because I felt a little like I was being placed on display, perhaps even for “purchase”.  Ugh!!

Then I believe that the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “Show them Jesus.  Let them see Jesus in you.”

Showtime took on a different meaning.  It is my desire to show people Jesus.  It is my desire to show people the way to draw closer to him.  It is my desire to show people the difference that Christ makes in my life, and can make in theirs.  I am not perfect, and do not pretend to be.  My congregation sees the real me, which is not always pretty, but I hope and pray that they also see the light of Christ shining through this somewhat cracked, imperfect vessel.

It’s showtime, all the time.