You were called and given a role in the Body of Christ. You were saved to serve! Equally important to remember is that your role, whether big or small, will always be connected in some way to the local church, directly or indirectly. Ephesians 4 mentions that the whole body is joined and held together by every supporting ligament, meaning you and me. The Apostle Paul, who penned those words by revelation of the Holy Spirit, was talking about the church. Ministry flows from the church.
Many of God’s people know that they have a call on their lives. Yet too many Christians have only a vague sense of what their calling is, and/or are frustrated in arriving there or even getting started on that process because they so often sabotage their own progress. Many live out their lives in a nebulous state of disappointment and frustration that the dreams and callings they sense in their hearts have not come to pass.
This unfortunate situation has a ripple effect on whole churches, because when people do not have an understanding of what they been called to, or what the path leading to the fulfillment of that call will require of them, it leaves people without a sense of direction. When that happens, God’s people too easily hop around from one church to another trying to find themselves and striving to arrive at their Promised Land.
The Church of Jesus Christ, therefore, has been weakened by shallow commitments and partially self-serving motives. Many churches struggle to man important ministry positions, and God’s people suffer the consequences of overworked pastors and less-than-stellar results of ministry work.
For pastors and leaders, one of the ongoing frustrations in churches is the constant flow of people going in and out of important ministry positions. It seems like many people are by nature transient in their church lives for a variety of reasons. One reason for this, as already stated, is that people hop around trying to find themselves. Another reason for this tendency is partly because God’s people in the West are largely ignorant about the spiritual importance of the words with which I opened this book: constancy, steadfastness, stability, perseverance, loyalty, dependability, and self-denial in the midst of uncomfortable circumstances.
People also tend to be transient because we as a culture have become fair weather friends due to being raised in homes where fathers and sometimes even mothers are missing in action. Our dysfunctional upbringings have taught us to look out for “number one” regardless of who it might hurt, and to move on when it suits us. There is a tremendous amount of ignorance in the body of Christ on the subject of stability and commitment. And any time there is ignorance, there is also the possibility of destruction. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,” says Hosea 4:6.
Therefore, when someone who is manning an important ministry position decides to move on but leaves a hole in the church in doing so, it harms the body and leaves the pastor or other leaders scrambling to try to fill the gaps, often in ways that are starkly less effective than the previous leader. When that happens and a pastor’s trusted leader or ministry worker announces their departure, most pastors suck in their guts and say through gritted teeth and forced smiles, “Well, we’ll miss you; be blessed.” That’s how pastors are supposed to respond, isn’t it? Pastors are apparently not allowed to tell people the truth in those kinds of situations because of the appearance of being self-serving or insensitive. What they don’t have the opportunity to say are the things I will say here in an effort to apply some preventive medicine – hopefully in an understanding, sympathetic, and loving way – and help everyone who mans an important ministry position at your church to gain a Kingdom perspective on what you are doing, what it means to God and His Church, and why it’s important to do things God’s way and not your way.