The church I left at the end of June is just a year and a half old. I moved to Appleton with the pastor and his family in October of 2008 to start laying the ground work and looking for gathering space. When we found a place we started holding unofficial gatherings on Sunday nights in February of 2009 before our official launch on April 19, 2009.
When the adventure started, I never thought I would leave. My plan was to be at this church with this team for the very long foreseen future. I did ministry with my pastor for seven years and really never thought about the day that wouldn’t be the case.
But there’s an ugly side to why I never thought about leaving and it’s called pride. With just the pastor and myself on staff, I did just about everything except preach, cast vision, and do counseling. Whether I wanted to admit it or not there was a part of me that thought, “If I leave, the church will not survive.” Honestly, when God started whispering in my heart that it was time to go over a year ago, that was one of my thoughts. “God, that is crazy. The church isn’t even a year old, I’m comfortable here, I’m just getting settled, and I mean, let’s be real, this church needs me.”
Woah! Time out. That needs idea is a dangerous one.
God in His graced showed me that my church didn’t need me. And I hate to break it to you but your church doesn’t need you either. And to be really honest, I don’t think God needs us either. In His grace & mercy He uses us as tools to accomplish His purposes here on this earth. He graciously blesses us with the gift of being able to partner with Him in the spread of the Gospel. If He wanted to do it without us, I think He could.
That is something I need to remind myself of daily. And it’s one of the reasons I left the church. I recognized that for myself, where I was at, I needed to spend more time focusing on my relationship with God and not what I was doing for Him. What I was doing was becoming more important than being in relationship with Him.
I think for many who work in the church it’s a slippery slide from planting the seed and watering it to planting the seed and thinking we’re responsible for the growing. Before we know it we can get to a point where we’ve cut God out of His Church.
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7
What helps you stay focused, remembering that it is God who makes things grow?