And The Best Church Is...
I had the honor of speaking at a church in Fort Dodge yesterday that does not carry the name New Covenant Christian Church. Most weeks you will find me preaching at New Covenant but not yesterday. Yesterday was a special day. It also snowed yesterday, but that's beside the point and not special at all.
I was asked to speak at a church in town that currently finds themselves without a pastor. They have been reaching out to pastors and church leaders to speak on Sunday mornings in the church. You may not know a lot about the inner-workings of a church, but this is not normal.
To clarify, As I speak about churches from this point on, I am speaking in general terms and not about any one particular church.
Churches normally hire an interim pastor during a time of transition or leaders in the congregation will take turns speaking. It is very rare for churches to look outside their own church, or their denomination, for help in times of need. I have always found this lack of reaching out to be frustrating and unnecessary.
One of the reasons that churches exist is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ (the Gospel) to people who need to know His truth, love, and grace. The church should love others unconditionally because that is how others will know we follow Jesus (See John 13:34-35).
The church, however, is often known not for what it loves but for what it hates. The church is known for competition instead of cooperation. Which church has more people? Which church has more money? Which church does more outreach? Which church has free coffee and is it fair trade certified?
This simply should not be the way our churches behave and that is why I was so blessed to be with a church who understands that we are all working together to accomplish one goal. This idea is summed up best in the following verses:
1 Corinthians 3:3–8 (NLT) "For you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, 'I am a follower of Paul,' and another says, 'I follow Apollos,' aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work."
I would like to point out nine important words from this passage: What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The church is here to love others and to point people to Jesus. We are here to cooperate, not compete, with one another and to focus our attention on being people who love. We do our part and rely on God to cause lives to grow.
Imagine what could be accomplished if all of us had this mindset of cooperating instead of competing. What would our churches look like? What impact could we have in our communities if we simply wanted to see lives changed regardless of where it was taking place?
It was an honor to preach at another church yesterday and I know that God will do great things in the lives of those who call that church their home.
Until Monday, Josh