It can be real easy to get caught up in the latest ministry trends. One day mega churches with CEO-type pastors are the in thing. The next day people want small intimate fellowships with loose leadership. Then you hear that the latest rage is going back to liturgy and candles. Then people want a multi-sensory experience complete with audio visuals and live drama. But wait – then you hear that you must have a pastor with a tattoo and a nose ring to be relevant to the culture.
Winds change again and you find your fellowship outdated almost as quickly as the next generation computer you bought yesterday and is obsolete by the time you remove it from the box. It’s enough to drive the leadership crazy. Where should the focus be? Should a particular fellowship be driven by the appetites of man or the Spirit of God? Why do we chase the latest ministry fad when the way is so simple? Jesus made it clear as He addressed His disciples before His death on the cross. Read what Jesus had to say:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself that where I am, there ye may be also.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Jesus disrupted the disciples’ world that night. He dispelled any belief they had in their own strength or in their designs for Him to establish an earthly kingdom through force and miracles. Instead, Jesus outlined the way of the cross – the path least taken. The above passage is a consolation to the disciples as well as an admonishment for them not to forget the model. Notice Jesus told the disciples that they knew the way (the model to follow). Thomas answered that they did not. Then Jesus cleared up the matter when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
There is no model except Jesus and what the Holy Spirit lays on your heart. We get to know Jesus through His Word and prayer. Instead of listen to the voice of God, many people will flock to church/ministry growth seminars, books, CDs, surveys or models. Just because something worked for Pastor Bill XXXX in another part of the country doesn’t mean it will work for you. Any real movement of God always starts with and is driven by God. Consider taking time just to listen for God’s direction. Wait on the Holy Spirit and His plans. Then once the leadership is in agreement, move forward with God’s plan no matter how radical it may seem at the time. Now there is nothing wrong with consulting other church leaders or movements. But these should never be your primary source of direction or inspiration. In order to successfully carry out God’s design for your fellowship, you need to hear directly from God. Then be prepared to let God change the game plan as He sees fit. Your call may not be static. It may change over time.
God created all 31 flavors of ministry. You may want to stop looking for a successful model and start listening for what God uniquely gifted and called you to do. Sure, you can learn from the mistakes of others. But don’t miss out on a real move of God because you ended up settling for the latest ministry craze.