God's Will: We Wouldn't Do This With Ketchup.
In ministry—as in life—we as leaders and participants enjoy setting up a plan of attack. We break our ministry down into tiny segments, sometimes programs, and brainstorm a strategic map for improvement and growth. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.
I used to do this on a monthly basis with the youth ministry I have been charged to care for and facilitate.
This method now petrifies me.
So many companies, ministries, and small businesses today make decisions based on what the “investors” think, want, or desire. Lets pretend for a minute you were the owner of a new business startup that was developing a new brand of ketchup—first thing I thought of...business type here is irrelevant. As the owner of this new ketchup business you wanted to use tomatoes, salt, maybe a little sugar, and some other herbs and spices in your recipe, but there's the problem—it’s a grouping of your top 5 investors. They believe you should use bananas and paprika as your base ingredients. Would you listen?
Well the answer is simple. Of course not. That's ridiculous.
Yet, being in ministry for nearly a decade I've seen this happen at churches I’ve worked at, ministries in my community, and I've read about it happening in books, on blogs, and social media sites. This happens regularly in our country’s ministries. Congregational members who have the deepest pockets influence their church leadership with threats of leaving and pulling their tithe—or even worse, church leadership won’t take a stand without the support of the thickest wallets.
We wouldn’t do this with ketchup, why are we doing this with the Body of Christ?
Is it because we believe that God will work through our mistakes? Is it because we believe the church must be run as a business or ministries will be taken advantage of?
Where is God’s Will?
Where is faith?
Where is our spiritual obedience?
I visited a church 18 months ago and began talking with a staff member about their facility, budget, and vision. Mind you, at this time in my ministry I believed in a business-like ministry model.
So I'm asking pointed questions about money and the humble gentleman interrupts me and says, “We prayed as a church for what God wanted out of us in this location. Through many prayer meetings and discussions we decided to build and add staff. We had no idea how to pay for it, and couldn’t in all honesty. Within one year of the building’s completion our ministries grew, we were making disciples more efficiently, who were in turn making disciples…and everything was paid in full. Our new members' tithe alone covered the cost.”
They tapped into God’s Will, and of course it succeeded. Do you do that? Do you do that with your life? Career? Business? Church? Ministry? Spiritual Life?
How stressful it must be to have all the pressure of success fall on one person? All the stress can be cast upon God; His Will will succeed. Always.
So how do we seek God’s Will?
More on that in entries to come…but for now, start by being silent. Listen. Pray. Don’t pray and speak… pray and seek… and do it together, in community.