I Have Learned that the Church Belongs to God … (10)

coffee.jpgI have learned that the church belongs to God and that it is not my deal! 

 
I failed for too many years with this one.  For too many years I felt
so responsible for what people did and for what the church did.  I
would often internally accept the blame for whatever went wrong because after
all, "I should have done something."  At times, people in our church would make some really bad decisions and I would then second guess myself.  I would wonder where I went wrong.  "Maybe I should have been a better friend, taught more about this area of life, been a better minister, etc."  Not good.  My responsibility is to function as God has called me to function but I do not control the choices that others make regarding their obedience to Jesus. 

 
From another angle, there are some of us who are so invested in what we are doing as ministers, longtime members of a congregation, church leaders, etc. that we almost act as if the congregation is ours instead of God’s.  I suspect that if we truly believed that this was God’s deal and not our own that we would have less of a problem with arrogance and pride.   Why would my head swell with such a sense of self-importance if this not even my church to begin with?

 
The church is God’s.  The church belongs to God.  We exist because of God.  We are in God’s hands.  We may have hopes and dreams for our congregation.   Ultimately, however, these people belong to God.

 
I am to follow Jesus and live as a part of this community of believers.  My task as a Christian leader is to follow Jesus and to use whatever gifts I have been given to build up the body of Christ.  However, I need to remember that all of this still belongs to God.  That can take an enormous weight off my shoulders.  After all, this is a weight that really never belonged there in the first place.  There is something very freeing about working hard, loving people, and then leaving all of this in God’s hands.

 
Can you think of ways in which you have taken responsibility for what should have been left to God?  Why do you think so many of us do this? 

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  • http://johndobbs.wordpress.com john dobbs

    Jim, that has been a mantra of mine over the years. I can’t remember where I first heard it. But I have said many times: The church has a savior, and it’s not me. I try not to use that as an excuse, but as a kind of self-coaching toward the truth that this is not in my control. And it shouldn’t be.

  • Jim Martin

    John,I really think you are right.  I continue to be amazed at the pressure that is taken off when I realize that the God-possibilities are much greater than my-possibilities for our church. 

  • ConnieLard

    I have at times tended to do this with my children.  Perhaps because so much of myself has been invested in them.  And maybe it is the same reason minsters can fall into doing this with the church?  It is good to be reminded to take a step back and recall that the church, our kids, or whatever is our area of primary ministry, it all belongs to God.  It’s not ours.  It’s His.

  • http://gregengland.com Greg England

    This is a lesson well learned, when we finally learn it! In this same vein of thought, it did wonders for my ministry and mental health when I realized we are but a part of the overall kingdom of God and God is doing very well managing his kingdom!

  • http://www.missionalchurchnetwork.com brad brisco

    wow does this ever resonate! yes I have taken responsibility for those who have left the church because they didn’t like this or that. there were times I even took responsibility to "fix" the brokeness of others.

  • http://mattdabbs.wordpress.com Matt Dabbs

    Thank you for unpacking these thoughts from your original post. I will have to read back over them again and do some more digesting.

  • http://www.theblogofnancy.blogspot.com/ nancy

    this is the tip of the iceberg. i think that this is the begining of what most Christians come to in their life and walk with God. 
    first we realize that we belong to God, then that everything else belongs to God,  eventually to the end where we actually realize that every little thing..even the last breath of air that we breath…belongs to God.  there is one choice we are given…to accept the Son of God.
    the enemy would like us to think that we have been and always will be in control of our life…
    but, the truth is that we are either been a slave to the enemy or have become a servant of God.  and everything we do as a servant of God is what He wants us to do.
    and i agree that God has not made any of us head of the church (body of Christ).  and God has given us many freedoms through Christ.  the freedom to not have to figure out everything, because He has that covered.  all we are to do is listen, walk in the Spirit, and obey.  
    the comand is to love one another…the Spirit does the changing of hearts.