I was just a few years into pastoring and I was struggling. I was beginning to feel somewhat disillusioned with the constant necessity of putting on big events, trying to talk people into showing up for church, and the general obsession with numerical growth. It seemed like such a far cry from what I had hoped it to be and so distant from what I read throughout the New Testament.
It was during this struggle that I felt as though God was changing something deep inside of me. He was beginning to ask me a question that would revolutionize my life and how I would see ministry forever.
- This question would set me free from my disillusionment
- This question would liberate me from the comparison trap
- This question would rescue me from allowing my identity to rise and fall on every person who entered or exited my church
- This question would replace my growing frustration with renewed joy
- This question is one of the main reasons I stand here today, 10 years into full-time ministry, with more passion and love for the church than I had the very first day
THE QUESTION: Do I believe that if I build God's kingdom, He will build His church?
It may sound like a simple question but I believe the implications of living it out are absolutely life-changing. Do I believe that if I give my life to building and expanding the kingdom of God that He will bless that church and that leader?
Here's what happens when we choose to build OUR kingdom over HIS kingdom:
- We will inevitably begin holding onto people too tightly
- We will inevitably try to use people for our own gain
- We will inevitably minimize the gifts, callings, and abilities of someone in order to keep them in house
- We will inevitably limit the possibility of kingdom movements and multiplication by settling for growth by addition
- We will inevitably become bitter and hard-hearted as a result of people not doing what we want
- We will inevitably face burnout after years of trying to get people through the doors
- We will inevitably alienate and stifle some of our high-capacity leaders by making them settle for church attendance and serving on a ministry team
- We will inevitably make our people feel guilty for anything that takes them beyond our walls and programs
- We will inevitably resent everyone who leaves our church
- We will inevitably limit all ministry/sending/church planting to only that which directly benefits our church
- CAN YOU THINK OF ANOTHER RESULT OF BUILDING OUR KINGDOM OVER HIS KINGDOM? (the list is endless)
Not only that, but a focus on building YOUR kingdom has the real possibility of destroying your soul as a leader/pastor! That leader will inevitably become self-conscious and insecure.
I fully believe God honors the leader/pastor who builds His kingdom!
I know that I have found incredible joy and freedom in trusting God and leading people with palms open!