New Direction With Old Training

The Jordan’s are preparing for a new adventure. I preach in view of a call at a church this coming Sunday (July 7). The occasion has been a long time coming and it gives me cause to reflect on the path that brought us to this place.
When we left the previous church we knew it was the right decision. Several churches contacted us in the early days and we even considered a couple seriously. For one reason or another, however, we didn’t go to those churches. God trained us to discern the intentions of a church. We discovered that no church can grow without first being concerned with their spiritual state. Spiritual concern means a church looks at its problems from a spiritual point of view instead of a market point of view. Some spiritual problems churches experience include scriptural illiteracy, prayerlessness, disunity, and loss of mission.
It took me several ministries to get focused on this spiritual anemia. As a pastor to several struggling churches, it surprised me how pervasive the lack of these simple spiritual disciplines had become. Yet, I see the enticing alternative. Churches can grow numerically by marketing themselves but they can only grow spiritually by yielding their own market agenda to the leadership of God’s spiritual guidance. Given the choice, most churches elect to deal with their declining problems via increased marketing rather than spiritual humility. It seems a human pattern to seek God only in the worst moments.
Old training prepared us for the yearlong separation from pastoring. It also trained us for leadership. Churches need pastors with a clear view of the spiritual needs of a congregation. They need pastors ready to remedy the spiritual malady rather than invent success through cheap market-driven means. God tell us “You reap what you sow.” Sow spiritual seed and reap the spiritual harvest. God gives new direction but it’s always built on old training. God’s idea of leadership has always been to have his people focus on spiritual matters.

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