Three Things I Learned Wednesday Night (8-28-15)
Sunday, I announced that our church would begin meeting on Wednesdays for Bible study and service projects. The hope is to eventually use this ministry as an outward expression to our community of Christ’ love, but right now we must continue the revitalization work we began two years ago. Our century old facilities still have several needs and if we are going to use them as an instrument to make the good news of Jesus Christ known, we have several improvements that we need to make.
At 7:00pm on Wednesday, I was amazed at the men and women that showed up. Many of our most active church members were helping with a community-training event scheduled for that night, but we still had a great crowd that far exceeded my expectations. After all the lights were off and doors locked, I reflected on what God had shown me and I want to share three of them with you today.
1. I Must Quit Saying No for People – Two months ago I felt God burdening my heart. I had messed up. I knew that my primary calling as a pastor was to equip and disciple people to fulfill the Great Commission. However, repeatedly I would “say no” for people. Instead of giving incredibly busy people the opportunity to “say no,” for themselves, I would often talk myself out of asking them altogether.
Instead of saying no for those who have accepted the call to follow Christ, I should have been considering, “how to stir up one another to love and good works”(Hebrews 10:24 ESV). If I had talked myself out of challenging the church to serve on Wednesdays, I would have missed seeing men and women serve Christ and His Church, together.
Whom in your life do you need to encourage to obediently follow Christ and not simply “say no” for them?
2. I Must Find Opportunities For People to Serve – Nearly everything that was accomplished on Wednesday night, I could have done, and I would not have had to answer 100 questions in the process. It could have been done on my schedule and exactly the way I thought it should be done. However, without anyone else sharing in the experience of serving, what good would that have been? I heard a mentor say to me once, “if you serve alone you are wasting your time, but if you serve with someone else its discipleship.” Church leaders are not called to merely get the job done; they are called to fulfill the mission through making disciples.
Yeah, making opportunities for people to serve will require additional planning. Yeah, it will sometimes not be done to your quality. Nevertheless, there will be some people forever impacted because you gave them an opportunity to use their God-given gifts and abilities for the honor and glory of God— for that reason alone, it is worth it.
3. I Must Quit Underestimating – I must admit, prior to Wednesday night Bible study and Service projects I was worried. Would anyone show up? Would we be able to get the work done or would the whole night be a gigantic waste of time? Was I overzealous about what could be accomplished in a mere 90 minutes? These questions were running through my mind ten minutes before everyone arrived.
Roughly halfway through the event I took a minute and watched people work. Contrary to what onlookers may have thought, I was not being lazy. I was instead, standing in awe of what God could accomplish through men and women focused on a common goal.
At the beginning of the night I reminded everyone that we love, serve, and give because God first loved, served, and gave to us. Likewise, reminding them that we were not there to build a monument to God, but to prepare our facilities for the reaching of our family, friends and community. What I witnessed that night was people serving Christ for His mission, and it was beautiful.
I heard a pastor say to other pastors once, “if our vision was not scary to us it was probably insulting to God.” I believe this pastor was encouraging us to not underestimate God’s power and what He can accomplish. In the coming weeks, I pray I will not underestimate what is within God’s power, but instead embrace the biblical truth, “there is nothing impossible for our God” (Matthew 19:26). I pray you will do the same.