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May 21

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024


I’ve come to that settled conclusion. Now, lest someone get the very wrong idea that saying is a risque’ comment, let me correct you from the get-go.  Some can accuse me of clickbait with that comment, but let no one think I’m being off-color. Not even close.

For years I lived and breathed size. Church size. The bigger the church, the better it looked for me. Man, how wrong I was!! Obsessed with having a big church, I attended all the church growth seminars/conferences. I heard “How to break the 200/300 barrier” or “How to grow to this size” more than I care to admit. I heard, ad infinitum ad nauseum, how I needed to move from being a pastor to being a vision-casting, rule-making, control-freaking, domineering-leaning, take-it-or-leave-it pastor. Oops, I mean CEO. The title “pastor” no longer meant shepherd; it meant “I’m the boss and you’ll do it my way, accept my vision, agree to follow or don’t let the door hit you on the way out” kind of leader.  Can I scream now or later?

To my shame, I bought into that, BUT FORTUNATELY God knew my heart and personality better than I did at that time and knew I would NEVER feel comfortable sitting in an elevated chair of pomposity. The Scriptures also had a devastating effect on me: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Js. 4:6).  “Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.” (Pr. 21:4) And here is one that came true: “No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord.” (Pr. 21:30)

As I said that latter one came true. It’s called being fired or in softer terms: Being strongly encouraged to move on.  God knew where my heart was. It was not in riding herd on sheep; it was not in trying to “beat them” into submission; it was not in threats or ultimatums; it WAS in being a shepherd. In loving the people in my care. In caring for them. In crying with them. In laughing with them. In doing life with them. In praying with and for them.

“Thank you Lord, that no one can stand against Your plans, especially me. I’m satisfied with a small church and people I love.  I would much rather be in a small church contented and knowing I am in Your will than in a much bigger church where I sound like a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. I will forever be grateful for your reality check over 20 years ago.”

{Note: All Scripture is from the New Living Translation}