Let us begin with the end in mind… Whatever values we want to have in abundance in our church, must first be self-evident in us. It’s the old “practice what you preach” scenario. If we practice what we preach, those we lead will really believe what we’re preaching and be much more willing to give it a shot in their own lives.
The easiest principles, truths, and subjects for us to preach on are the ones we live out, and we know we live out. Conversely, the areas where we struggle most, we likely don’t deal with much in our preaching. That is natural, and mostly proper. The alternative is hypocrisy. Or, we start working on those areas, and preach in the tension of our growth.
Years ago I heard John Maxwell say that if he got to a Bible passage that he knew he wasn't living out in his own life, he would bring in a guest speaker to deal with that passage or subject. There is something honorable about that. But more importantly, there is something wise in a person who can recognize the difference! Can you and I even recognize the areas in our lives that are not congruent with the teachings of Jesus?
So, back to values. What values do you want to be descriptive of your church family? Are those very values descriptive of you? That’s the secret to church health and growth – alignment between what we teach, preach, and promote in our church – and what we live out in our actions and attitudes. Once there is that alignment, then movement and progress pick up real momentum. Because it’s natural, organic, and healthy.
Do you want your church to be
You see, it really is that easy. It takes time for a church to “catch” the qualities of its leader(s), but given enough time, churches generally take on the characteristics and values of their leader(s). Therefore, in order to change your church, you must start with YOU.
Forgive me, but can I quote Mahatma Gandhi who said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” In this case, in your church! In order to change your church, change you. If you want your church culture to evidence a certain quality or character – you evidence it first. Paul said this to the Philippians: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” He was basically saying, you watch me, then put into practice what you see. Like Dan Reiland said a few weeks ago on the podcast, “leaders go first!”
We love you pastors of 200churches all around our country and world! Your leadership, love, and vision for your people is so insanely crucial to the Kingdom of God. Go for it! Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are “small”, but be an example to all the other churches in preaching, ministry, love, and purity. And pastor… you go first!
Next Week - Pastor Karl Vaters from NewSmallChurch.com will join us and talk about his ministry in Europe last month, how small church pastors in eastern Europe are thinking about ministry, and what we can learn from them!
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