My Church Doesn’t Have What I am Looking For
I have heard this complaint in one form or another since the moment I set foot in church. That church doesn’t have counseling, a food pantry, enough worship, too much worship, the style of worship I like, not enough prayer, too much prayer, not enough outreaches, too many outreaches…so I’m leaving.
And let’s face it, if you stay in one church for two weekends in a row, you are bound to find a few flaws. As my pastors always say, “The church will never be perfect, because you are there, and I am there.”
I am wired for outreach. When I first started attending Oasis Church, they didn’t have any outreach programs. Given my passion for outreach and my heart for missions, it could have been easy for me to say, “This church doesn’t have outreach programs. So I am going to find one that does”.
But the moment I walked in the doors of my church, I knew that I was home. So I chose to stay planted. Not because I had vision to see the big picture—that God was going to use me to start one of the first outreach programs at the church. I stayed because God had planted me there and I trusted Him with the big picture.
When I first got the idea to do strip club outreach in 2003, the leadership at Oasis loved the idea and fully supported me. You’d have to ask them, but I have a hunch that one of the reasons they got behind it is because they saw that I had been faithful and consistent with the other places I served….and because I was planted. I volunteered where there was a need and did so with all of my heart.
Several years ago I attended a woman’s conference with some acquaintances. One of them pointed at the speakers and said, “One day, that’s going to be us”. They gushed over the attention the speakers were receiving and looked forward to the day they would be in the spotlight.
Honestly, the comment made me uncomfortable. We are a celebrity-crazed society. We are enamored with people in the spotlight and tend to put them on a pedestal. Unfortunately, in some ways the “platform” has become the Christian version of a spotlight. For many, it is destination they strive to arrive at.
But the platform is not a destination. It is not a level to achieve. The platform is a tool that God may entrust us with SO THAT His voice and His heart can be heard through us.
At the end of the day, “the platform”, along with any other area of serving is about stewardship. Whether we are changing diapers, volunteering with the youth, taking out the trash, or teaching on a Sunday morning, we are being entrusted.
I often tell the Treasures staff and volunteers, “Small things are not small things.” Everything they do matters. Faithful stewardship of what God puts in our hands in the key to being entrusted with more. (Matthew 25:23)
Without the support of my local church, I can confidently say that Treasures wouldn’t be here today. God used my heart for outreach to bring outreach to my church and purpose to my life. I don’t even want to imagine where I would be if I hadn’t stayed to see that happen.
I have seen people hop around from place to place, looking for the church of their dreams. In the process, they have robbed themselves of the benefits of being planted.
Psalm 92 says, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord,?they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age,?they will stay fresh and green…”
Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!
Rather than picking apart our churches and criticizing them for what they lack, I wonder what could happen if we all asked God to show us what role He would like us to play in the church that He has planted us in. What could happen if we made a decision to faithfully steward what we have been entrusted with there? Knowing we can trust God with the big picture.