I have made a very interesting discovery. You wouldn’t have noticed because you can’t see the number of people that read my blog posts. “What is interesting,” you ask? Twice as many people read my posts when I am blasting away at the sinfulness of the nation. If I am writing down fire and brimstone against homosexuals and murderers, they read it. If I type, “Woe to the sinners,” people read it and they share it. But when I started blogging about how the church is the reason that our country is in the mess that we’re in, the numbers dropped by half. And as I share with you what I believe to be God’s prescription for changing things, the numbers have dropped even more. Why is that? Do people just enjoy the fire and brimstone? Do we like the thought of God judging the nation – because that cannot possibly include us, can it? Or do we just not want to think that we have failed miserably, and the last thing we want to do is to (insert gasp here and whisper the next word) change our hearts, our lives, and our ministries? Either way, unless we commit ourselves first to God and then to our churches, we are doomed to continue on this path, this slippery slope into the abyss of immorality that will bring God’s judgment even more quickly. So what do we do? We commit to be functioning and unifying church members. Now let’s look at the next two areas that Dr. Thom Rainer discusses in his book I am a Church Member.
Dr. Rainer says that church is not about our preferences and desires. Most of us would never admit that we have done that, but every time we say that the preacher preaches too long or the music wasn’t peppy enough, we are saying that it is all about my preferences and desires. If we say the auditorium is too cold or that people don’t dress up like they should for a worship service, we are saying that it is all about my preferences and desires. This might blow some of you away, but it’s true. The Church wasn’t created or designed for you. It was created by God for Himself. Church is about God’s people coming together to praise Him and for Him to encourage us to go into the world and make disciples for Him. Honestly, I have been in worship services that seemed to drag on forever wondering what the pastor could possibly be thinking, but it’s in those moments I have to realize that it’s not about me. Someone in that room needed to hear what God laid on His heart. Someone may be grateful that the Minister of Music doesn’t sing all those fast songs because they need that quiet time of reflection. There could possibly be that individual that has a medical problem that causes them to feel hot, and my friends, it is much better that you be willing to bring a sweater and cover up than for them to remove some clothes, if you know what I mean.
You see, the simple truth is that all of us have been called to serve God first and others second. You cannot serve either if you constantly demand that you be served first and foremost. Remember that.
Then Dr. Rainer said that we must commit ourselves to pray for our church leaders. The Bible is clear. God has placed pastors/elders in the churches to meet the needs of the church. Paul’s writing makes it clear that He expects the pastor to lead the church and the members to follow his leadership. So, you say, “Preacherman, you don’t know my pastor. He’s not a very good one.” Do you know what you should do? Pray for him every day. If you do, there are many possible outcomes. One, God will change your heart for the pastor and open your eyes to the fact that there is a reason he isn’t meeting your expectations. His work is never ending. Some people think that being a pastor is easy since you only work on Sundays and Wednesdays. I hate to tell you this, but that is not true. Pastors never get a day off. Even when we go on vacation, our hearts and minds are on the church family. We field phone calls at all hours of the day and night. We wake up at 4:30 in the morning praying for you. So pray for him, and you may start to see a change in your heart. Or you might see God change your pastor. I have discovered long ago that there is nothing I can say or do to change a human heart – only God can do that. So pray for your pastor and see what God does. Who knows, He may change the pastor so much that another church will come and take him away from your church. The problem is by that time, you won’t want him to go.