November 3rd, 2004

Church Thoughts

Even with 25 years of sitting in churches making mental lists of all the wrong ideas people have, and 12 years of sitting in Southern Pentecostal Churches watching people focus on building ministries instead of pastoring people, I still find that I have to battle with the same traps I knew were there.

I had this sort of "Prospect List" in my mind that I had developed over the years of people God had brought across our path who were unable to find a church they liked. I planned to use it to recruit and build this church. In two of the families the husbands have gone back into the world and are drinking again, and they let me know right off that they were not interested in coming to church. Mine or any other.

I invited one of the other families to church and they came once, bringing a young man with them, and then disappeared. I concluded they did not like my preaching and left it at that. When I saw them again I found out they were separated and that the husband was fighting an addiction to crack. The young man they had brought to church with them has now returned on his own but confessed today that he is trying to escape a gay lifestyle. One of the other men I have been reaching for is also battling with crack.

I have to admit I was disappointed to realize that they all needed so much work. What a horrible, arrogant thing to even allow myself to think. Like they were old cars that I wanted to run perfectly and now I find they "need work". How inconvenient for me! You know what? I have decided I'm inexplicably happy with all this today. It is the sick indeed that are in need of a physician and not the well; and we are not here to build a ministry but to minister. I say bring them in LORD. And forgive me.