There is nothing more exciting than a ministry that demonstrably requires the resurrection power of Jesus Christ from day one.
Crossway Church had given themselves two years to die well. The question for us was, Were any other options possible? The answer was, “Not necessarily.” Only God can bring about revitalization, and he is under no obligation to revitalize my church. Every good thing we enjoy, and every plan we make that comes to fruition is a generous gift of God towards us. We gain a right confidence, by losing confidence in ourselves, and placing in God.
As Joshua approached Jericho, he asked the commander of the Lord’s army, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come”’(Josh. 5:13-14).
It is easy to think that God must be on our side as a struggling church. We argue that our shrinking is a sure sign that we must be faithful. But we need to ask, not if God is on our side, but if we on his. Are we willing to follow his lead? Will we die to ourselves for the sake of Christ and his church? This is the heart of discipleship. The Lord is in command, not us.
Before arriving at Crossway, I was a people-pleaser. I didn’t think I could handle conflict, or lead the church through the necessary change. A more experienced church leader explained that the conflicts that change produces are not something to fear, but unavoidable, wonderful opportunities for discipleship. Our Christian growth is made of these moments—when worlds are rocked, comforts are challenged, and we must decide who is in command.
Of course, just because my church may die does not mean God’s church, the church, is dying. “On this rock I will build my church,” says Jesus (Matt. 16:18). But it is his church, not mine. In practice, …
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