Are You More Afraid of God or of Your Congregation?

Maybe “afraid” is the wrong word.  We are called to be in awe of God and – frankly the power of a God who can lay the foundation of the earth and command the morning can be terrifying.

But you know what I’m talking about, Church People.  Many of our leaders are afraid of:

  • The Big Donor who threatens to leave if you aggravate him,
  • The Church Ladies who rule the kitchen (and the church parlor and the Sunday morning Bible study and the . . .)
  • The grandchildren of the beloved former pastor who won’t stop talking about how much better Church was back then,
  • The Cranky Person who complains about everything,
  • The Gossipy Person who holds court in the church parking lot,
  •  The Angry Person with the unibrow who disapproves of you,
  • The Judge-y Person who gives the stink eye to everybody wearing blue jeans or soccer shorts on Sunday mornings.
  • The Person who has run ___ for over twenty years who complains about doing it but won’t let anybody else do it.

Are we more interested in pleasing God or our congregations?

If we spend most of our time pleasing church members, our congregation is dying.  No exceptions.

Imagine this conversation instead:

  • How is this decision going to please God?
  • How is this purchase going to please God?
  • How is this new hire going to please God?
  • How is this mission project going to please God?

These are the discussions our church leaders need to be having.  Authentic ministry is about pleasing God which leads to spiritual growth, expanding the reign of God, and changing lives for good in the name of Jesus.

Sometimes the church people who claim to love the church most are actually the ones who are inadvertently killing it.  Please believe me when I say that congregations longing to please God are going to thrive – no matter what the size, location, or demographic.

My hope is that this conversation will happen in our churches in early 2019 – for the sake of the Gospel.  (Thanks for considering it.)

Image source.

4 responses to “Are You More Afraid of God or of Your Congregation?

  1. Thank you Jan!!!!
    This is providence. Can I share at our session meeting tonight (with credit of course)?

    With gratitude!


  2. Amen! As I have coached and consulted with pastors and churches regarding their mission and vision, I’ve emphasized that the question is not “what do we think the church should be doing?” Rather the question is: “what is God yearning for this church to be and do?”


  3. Pingback: Thursday Thoughts – December 13, 2018 |

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