Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Preachers ... hunh! What are they good for? ....

In a blog written by a member of a church that used to be known for heralding togetherness in the willingness to be used by God, a question was asked. Should preachers seek to change the people who hire them into their own vision?

Here is my answer. ..

In a society of churches that still hold too tightly to the idea that preachers are hired to 'do the work' FOR the congregation instead of WITH the congregation, finding preachers who will be the catalyst FOR the congregation is still a problem. Why do we still think it is the man we hire that can spark the changes we have loathed to embrace?

It is the Holy Spirit of God that is the real catalyst of change. It is the preacher's work (not job) to herald the Lord's message faithfully. It is his calling to be used by God and to call others to seek to be used by God and then let God direct them together, as His flock. How God uses the preacher and the rest of His faithful is up to God.

When will the giftedness of our members, our fellow ministers, both leaders and followers, be given the attention God gives it? When will love being shown (and not just claimed and proclaimed) be restored to the center of how we are whose we are? When will we become like popcorn in the heat of God’s love, ready to explode into delicious usefulness, spreading His salt and His light? You want to know why churches grow bigger and bigger? To be fed to a starving world of lost and hungry people. They fizzle when they fail to allow God to open the package and spill the church out where it can be eaten to feed the hungry. Popcorn left in the bag gets stale – which is exactly why the big churches of yesteryear keep getting replaced … God is looking for people who will be used for HIS glory to seek and to save the lost. We do not need bigger bags to hold us in. We need more willingness to explode into usefulness in HIS hands … to be distributed by HIS will.

It is the focus of what is being sought that needs most to be driven by the Holy Spirit and NOT by any other agendas we might think rival the need for faith and the work of God in every life surrendered to HIS agenda and control. That does not depend on the professionalism or organizational capabilities of any one person or small group of persons to substitute for our service. When did the body of Christy stop being an organism created, led and focused by God? Do we leave God's Spirit in favor of having what mankind might see as a spectacular organization or plan or vision? Who is defining successful ministry? Do we trust God to define it, or do we have to meddle in it and tweak it to our own satisfaction?

Seems to me that submission to the Spirit often leads to unlikely choices as God uses the believers HE has gifted in the ways HE intends to use them/us to achieve what HE considers to be HIS purposes. Does He need us to try to tweak that into a more palatable package?

A preacher is a herald - so hire a faithful town crier type. A shepherd is one who serves the flock as protector, feed locator and guide, and as a searcher for strays - to bring them back into the why try to make them chief managers or administrators? Get to know the Author of Life. Learn to recognize HIS voice. Be sensitive to when HE calls you by name and trust God to direct the paths of His shepherds.

Why claim to trust beyond sight when you are afraid to practice such trust? And why keep appointing leaders and hiring people based on our own (oompeting) agendas instead of on the basis of their faithfulness to following God's lead? A worker is worthy of his hire, but where do we find the same said of boards of directors (no matter what we call them)? God did not design a hierarchy, so why do we waste time pretending that is a gap we should fill?

We do not need so much new focus as we need faith to walk in God's steps to work where He is working and call the ones whom He has prepared to respond. The church looks more like a business organization than a family of servant-minded and servant-living body members. Who are we kidding?

We do not need men who want to change others. We need men willing to be changed by God, wherever that leads - not because we trust our plans, but because we trust the only One who can see what we cannot.

Call faithful heralds of GOD'S message and work and movement among the lives of people in the communities to which HE has called us. Call someone who will trust God and work among you as examples of surrendered servants who know only to share Christ and Him crucified.

I was never called to make changes. Even if someone tried to make that call I would decline because that is not the role God calls me to. I was called to herald the gospel of the King and His Kingdom. I am your fellow servant, not your task-master and visionary planner. Those things come from God, not me. Those things come through me sometimes, but can just as easily come through you. I am called to herald and work alongside you - not for you and not over you.

Come, let us serve Him where He leads. Come seek His ways with me. Come live the wonder of a life surrendered and shaped daily by His will. I am a voice called to speak what He wants and when He wants because HE wants it. What gift has He given you to make an impact in this community? I am a voice of encouragement and understanding and determination to glorify God.

Me wanting to change someone? Nope. Me surrendered to be changed? Definitely. That is God's preference for me, whether it is your idea of good preaching material among your community or not. It is even God's own preference for you, too, if you would but listen to His gentle call.

What's that, Lord? Time for me to stop typing? Done.

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