Sometimes as leaders, we are tempted to think that the problems we face in our organizations are due to the fact that people aren’t engaging and moving in God’s Spirit. “After all,” we think, “if people were listening to God, then our children’s ministry would have plenty of workers!” We imagine that the many ministries we think are important to keeping a church looking healthy would see everyone actively involved in them and no one would be lonely or left behind because everyone would be reaching out to each other on every Sunday and in every one of those very important programs we put together for Wednesday night services.
But what if we could step away from it all for a moment and view everything with God’s perspective? What would we see?
Is His church thriving or do we feel His people need a brow-beating and another talk about their need to obey God and walk by His Spirit? Or in other words, God’s people need to do more and volunteer more and be more active in activities and weekly duties.
However, the divine perspective is that “in union with whom (Christ) we were made God’s portion, since we had been foreordained in accordance with the purpose of Him who in everything carries out the plan of His will, that we who had first put our hope in Christ might praise His glory” (Eph. 1:11-12). God says that He carries out the plan of His will. We can rest in the fact that God, in everything, carries out the plan of His will, so that WE (His people ‒ already foreordained in accordance with His purpose, not our purpose), might praise His glory.
We tend to try to fit all our doctrine and theology into what fits into OUR definition of church – what serves our definition of church and the many busy aspects that the church needs to accomplish pulling off a good Sunday morning experience or an effective Wednesday night event.
We need to take a step back and take a look at what defines church. It’s so important from time to time to do this. And it’s important because we are easily baited into thinking that service to a Sunday morning schedule is the height of what is defined as church.
Volunteerism has replaced grace through faith, but it ends up being simply works-religion. It’s easy to do good works and feel completely at ease within oneself. If you volunteer at your local church, it is surely a sign to the leadership (and to you) that you are a genuine believer walking by Gods Spirit and if you don’t volunteer, you are made to feel like you don’t belong. And once you do volunteer, YOU are made to stand up so all can see your good deeds and praise them. I wonder what it would look like if God would be praised for the amazing work He has done in the deep depths of our lives through those painful trials and the suffering we’ve gone through in the wilderness where we came to know Him as our true and living Savior.
But really, what is church? Ephesians 1:22 says, “And so He has put all things under His feet and made Him the supreme Head of the church, which is His body, that is being filled by Him who fills everything everywhere.” Church is Christ’s body. The people as the church are the ones who are being filled by Him. It is you, precious child of God – a human being filled with Christ. As the church, we are people who belong in Christ’s rest, ceasing the striving of our own works and who put our faith and hope in God.
We must, for the praise of God’s glory, separate what is God’s work from what is the striving of men to attain and gain the proud pretensions of this life. Just because something is done at “church,” or because it is considered a good thing to do on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night, does not automatically mean that you should jump into it. All that is out from men captures, contains and parades for the glory of men and organizations. But being led by God’s Spirit is the gentle wind and breath of God that leads His people into the blessing of freedom, liberty, life.