Pastor Bill was an extremely frustrated pastor. He believed he knew what God wanted his church to do, but the people refused to follow his leadership. He wondered whether we thought he should resign and find a group of people who were willing to follow God. Pastor Bill wanted to be involved in God’s activity and his frustration was understandable as his people resisted his efforts to lead them forward. Nevertheless, one must ask, “Bill, what is it about your leadership that your people are unwilling to follow?” The question may catch him by surprise. He assumed the problem lay with his church members, not with his leadership. What may become evident, however, was this passionate young pastor was not taking the time to help his people grow in their relationship with God. Pastor Bill was asking his church to follow a God they hardly knew.
Pastor Bill needed to worry less about the people’s activity in the church and to concentrate instead on encouraging their walk with God. If their relationship with God grew strong, their obedience would follow. So often enthusiastic pastors urge their congregations to participate in church outreach events and mission activities, but they make no connection between these programs and God’s activity.
Pastor Bill was asking his busy people to give up their valuable time to support church programs. What Bill needed was to present his church’s activities in terms of God’s activity in their midst rather than in terms of church programs to support or meetings to attend. The truth is, a church program never changed a life. Only God does that. Church ministries are nothing more than busywork unless God initiates them. As people see God at work around them and as they are encouraged to join him, they will demonstrate much more than compliance. They will enthusiastically participate in those activities they sense God is orchestrating.
(No . . I don’t know of any Pastor named Bill. Just a random name used to make a point)