Building the Church, pt1
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
1. Are we purpose driven or need focused?
Have you ever in your church life seen someone who was very faithful and grounded, and yet down the road somewhere they got into a tizzy or caused division because of having a strong opinion or idea about something? I’m not referring to a doctrinal issue, but about the way something should be done or the color of the paint—something along those lines. Have you ever wondered how that happened? That’s unsettling to me. I wonder if we’ve not contributed to that DNA. That there is something in the soil that is reproducing itself.
Maybe without realizing it, we developed that by making people think somehow they are the center of what we are doing. That translates to their ideas being the center of what we are doing. There is a fine line here. It’s important for our spiritual GPS to be really tuned in.
Many years ago, early in life, Penny and I were first married and not yet involved in the ministry. I was sitting on the couch, confessing the Word of God over my body for my cold symptoms. I prayed: “Lord, I just thank you that by Your stripes I am healed. I want to walk in health. I don’t want this thing to distract me.” I felt like the Holy Spirit said to me very clearly, “My Word doesn’t say that.” That got my attention. I turned to Isaiah 53 as if I was going to show God what His Word said. Of course, the Holy Spirit was right. His Word does not say, “by His stripes I am healed.” His Word says, “by His stripes, WE are healed.”
This is not semantics. Think about the framework of a person who believes that the gospel is just based on meeting their needs, versus the framework of a person who believes that the Gospel is based on ministering to many people. I think a steady diet of programs and messages that are based just on meeting people’s needs so they can have a better life is a corrupt DNA that will eventually manifest.
The Bible clearly teaches that we should not forget the benefits of God. 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.As we are promoting these things and teaching these things, we have to connect it to not just getting blessed, but WHY we are getting blessed. There is a stewardship of our blessing. If God has been kind to us, that is so that we can be kind to someone else in turn.
Colossians 1:10 So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
We come into the fullness of the Spirit to produce fruit. There needs to be an expectation. Where there is no expectation, inevitably, people will turn to themselves.
Colossians 1:28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.
The goal of those blessings is to be mature in Christ.
Colossians 1:29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
The purpose: To produce mature believers, not just to meet people’s needs. In a social setting, if we give someone a fish rather than teaching them how to fish, we will never help them to become mature. In some cases, we have replicated that wrong thinking inside the church, and it needs to be adjusted. In day-to-day life, that looks like not giving people what they want, but instead giving them an opportunity to follow God’s plan.
When you go to a Greek restaurant, you want really good Greek food, not Italian food. Greek food is what they do. I think sometimes the church has to remind itself that we aren’t in the humanistic-centered business; we are in the Christ-exalting business. Everything we do—whether it’s meeting needs, helping the poor, clothing the naked, counseling, reaching out to the community—whatever we are doing, we are doing in word and in deed in the name of Jesus.
We meet the needs on the way to a great destination. Jesus met needs. Jesus fed the 5,000 so they could hear the Word.
Are we focused on misery or are we focused on mission? Is a large part of our ministry focused and directed on the latest thing that goes wrong? Yes, we do need to respond to wrong things. The Network of Related Pastors has a trailer completely outfitted to respond to a natural disaster situation. But we don’t just do that to make people feel good. Our strategy is to find a church that is affected by the natural disaster and get that church up and running so it can do the multiplied ministry that we can’t accomplish in that area. In that disaster relief, we aren’t just meeting a need, but pushing a purpose—training people for the work of the ministry.
Look at your vision statements—are they more Christ-centered or man-centered? Do they talk about touching the needs of people or performing the purposes of God? I’m not saying the two are mutually exclusive. If we are going to do the one well (meeting the needs of people), then Christ needs to be the center of it.
Take a good look at the DNA of your church and ask: Are we purpose driven or need focused?
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!