Learning to Grow By Giving Up

“We’ve made models of pastoral care to feed people who aren’t hungry.” – James Mallon

The definition of insanity, as I’m told, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I have a feeling we have a LOT of insane ministry leaders in the church today.

Which is worse, painstakingly providing for the spiritually inept and disinterested via the pulpit, programs and every aspect of the local church in some failed attempt to force them to care; or loosing them because you spent your time and effort on the ones that truly care about being servants of Jesus and not just filling a seat?

I am by no means implying that we ought to give up on someone simply because the truth of the Gospel and the power of the Spirit haven’t impacted them, yet.

However, with the fleeting time, energy and resources given to every one of us, spinning our wheels in the mud of passionless consumer-Christianity is unwise at best.

So, how can we help the indifferent while focusing on the different?

  1. Provide Resources That Will Inspire – This, when boiled down to the fundamental issue, is a problem of understanding. The people who are filling our seats on Sundays but living lives which barely reflect their confession more than the little Jesus fish on their back bumper need inspiring. I’m convinced that when a person really connects with the Gospel they will be head over heels involved and influential for Christ. So find 1 program or system that allows them to see the impact faith can have on their lives. Maybe that is a benevolent ministry wherein the stronger Christians mentor the weak in how to help people’s physical needs. Maybe it is encouraging them via a study system wherein they can be re-converted. Whatever it is in your context, FIND IT!
  2. Practice What You Preach – At times, every ministry leader’s motivation will wean. That’s perfectly understandable. But when there is no passion from the pulpit or seats of authority, the masses will reflect that.
  3. Fight Consumerism – Pandering to the extras at the expense of the meaningful ministry helps no one. The local church isn’t Walmart, we aren’t here to satisfy everyone’s need at low prices with relatively nonexistent customer service. We’re in this to affect those outside of Christ, those in Christ and those who don’t know if they are either. So focus on preaching the Gospel (even when it hurts). Focus on empowering people to change their lives through the knowledge of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:22). Focus on the pleasing the Father instead of those who would wish to call you father.

It’s a question of perspective.

I used to be the leader that took it personal when people weren’t engaging in the work of the church but I quickly realized that it was burning me out and making me hard hearted.

“We’ve made models of pastoral care to feed people who aren’t hungry.” – James Mallon

Now, I focus on being a Christian and showing others (by word and deed) how to do the same. If you want to be involved, I will jump over the moon to make sure you can be. If not, I’m still going to be right here, doing exactly what I always do.

Maybe it’s callous. But I prefer to call it ministry.

Share This Post!

Leave a Comment