I was going through some old notes and I came across the following, which I believe was written after hearing from Don Sisk:
If your church isn’t growing, ask three things:
1. How is your personal outreach?
2. How is your relationship with your family?
3. How is your prayer life?
Those are very simply and yet honest questions that we ought to ask ourselves. As we prepare for this upcoming church plant, it reminded me of some things that are foundational. It is not about money, budgets and plans, but it is about being a man of character, a man of God. I want to do great things for God, but who does God use? Are we doing our part of the process?
Let me ask these questions in other ways:
How many hours a week am I soul winning? Evangelizing? Personally giving other people the gospel? Of course there are advertisements, tract distribution, passing out flyers, Facebook ads, etc. but am I using the time I am with others and/or purposefully scheduling time to go out and win souls?
How can we plan to have a healthy church if we don’t have a healthy family? What areas does my family need to grow in? Am I helping them grow in those areas? Am I leading my home? Am I pastoring my home? What is the spiritual condition in my home? Is my family excited about church? Why or why not?
How much time do I spend really praying? Am I asking? The following quote came through my email recently: “Don’t ask for easy lives, ask for the strength to live your life. Don’t ask for work to equal your power, ask for power that will equal the work. – Philips Brooks” Am I praying throughout my day, having a habitual lifestyle of prayer.
Then a passage I studied last week cam into my thoughts as well:
5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
Blameless in Family
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
Blameless in Character
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
Right Attitudes and Actions
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Skilled in the Word
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
How can we expect God to work if we aren’t who we need to be?
Effort + Reliance | None of this is accomplished in our strength, but there is effort that we put forward in all of this, striving to be like Jesus and empowered through the Spirit to actually do it. None of the voids our effort, but our effort is useless if we don’t rely on Him. It becomes just busy work.
Rejecting Slothfulness | On the other hand, can we be accused of being spiritually lazy, just waiting on God to do everything and not putting forth the effort that He requires or has commanded us to do. Are we sitting under the Word, soaking it all in and just souring because we aren’t doing anything with it?
To do great things, we need to be men of God blameless in family and character, putting forth effort in the right attitudes and actions, busy about the ministry (skillfully using the Sword of the Lord, His Word) and have a constant reliance on Him in everything through prayer.
And at the end of the day, as I wrote down in my devotions this morning: It isn’t just about using God to do great things, but it is about knowing God, because no matter what great things I do now, those are temporal but my relationship with Him is eternal.
Pray for us as we go forward with the church plant. Pray for me, that I would be the man that I need to be.