Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"This is the best place in the world"

Addressing preachers, Ray Pritchard shares some lessons learned along the way (HT: Stronger Church). Among them are these gems:
An earnest, godly young man shared with me his displeasure over the church politics he had observed first hand. "Why would anyone want to go into the ministry when you see how churches treat people?"

My answer was simple. You go into the ministry because God called you, and you stay there because the joy of seeing lives changed by the power of God outweighs the trouble you will inevitably face. It's a matter of relative values. I am not "down" on the local church in any way, shape or form. The church of Jesus Christ is still the best hope of the world. Though filled with fallible men and women who make many mistakes (leaders included), the church is the body of Christ on earth, the temple of the Holy Spirit, the pillar and ground of the truth, and the guardian of the Good News of Jesus. The church (not the building or the organization, but the people as the redeemed children of God) is the place where sinners are saved, broken people are made whole, and the life of Jesus is made visible to the watching world.

If you focus on the problems of the local church, you'll probably stop going and you'll certainly resign from the ministry. But if you look at what God is doing, you'll smile and say, "This is the best place in the world."
I agree with Ray that the joy of seeing lives changed outweighs the grief that comes with the job of congregational preaching. It might also be good to add that we keep preaching because we would be disobeying God if we didn't.


Blogger Dan McGowan said...

Our church is in the very beginning stages of launching a satellite campus to our east... this is a very strong vision the pastor has so we are moving ahead (unless God dramatically does something to stop it.) The other night we had a congregational meeting to give folks the opportunity to voice their comments... one woman got up and asked what seemed on the surface to be a good question: "Have we analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of our current church to make sure we don't take any of the weaknesses with us to the next church?" I got up and reminded our congregation that if there are going to be people in this new church, there WILL be "strengths and weaknesses" - it's a given. So, along the lines of this quote - yeah, God calls, we follow and do. Pretty simple when you strip away all the stuff that tends to clutter it up.

7:52 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good insight and view Milton. Know that we are praying for you and we are looking forward to see you soon.

8:13 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Pilgrim feet said...

It's why we go. We are those sinners. (speaking for myself here). I need His Grace and I think the Holy Spirit in us causes the desire for fellowship, etc.

5:00 PM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Very good points, Dan. I often meet people outside the church who don't want to be part of the body because of weaknesses. But what gathering of human beings doesn't have weaknesses? I encourage them to look at the strengths.

8:03 PM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thank you, Frank.

8:04 PM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Amen, PF. Although clearly God doesn't want Christians to go on sinning, it's good to remember that's all we are without the blood of Christ.

8:04 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking to my article, "Lessons Learned Along the Way." As I continue to reflect on my own years in local church ministry, it seems to me that the ups outweigh the downs, and I have definitely had my share of both. Perhaps I should say that many of the "downs" eventually became "ups" because of what the Lord taught me through the hard times. Blessings to you, Ray Pritchard

11:03 PM, April 23, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

You're welcome, Ray, and thanks for sharing those lessons. May you be encouraged by the Lord as you go through those downs (and ups!). Peace.

8:20 PM, April 24, 2006  

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