Jun 11, 2010

Not Praying for Church Growth Anymore

Not going to pray for church growth anymore.

As I was praying last night I was convicted to the core. I loved church growth more than I loved Jesus.

One of the things I always pray for is that God would use me and our church to grow his Kingdom through the church. Prayers for church growth flows out of my consciousness without even me knowing.

As I was praying, God seemed to be asking me, "If you had a choice between church growth or Jesus which one would you prefer?"

Of course the right answer is Jesus, but you wouldn't know it by what occupies my prayer language or even about what I focus on. My focus had been on growing the church more than it was about Jesus.

I know that you can't separate the two. Where Jesus is present, you are going to have renewal and growth.

But the flip side is not necessarily true. You can have growth without Jesus.

The problem with my prayer language and the posture of my prayer was that I had put priority to praying for church growth rather than Jesus.

I would pray for growth, and rarely pray as if the only thing that mattered was that Jesus be glorified, that Jesus be lifted up, that when people come to the Little Church on the Prairie that every single person experiences the glory of the risen Christ. It's got to be all about Jesus and I had been praying as if it was all about growth.

And that's wrong.

So I made a promise to God last night. I will never pray for growth again.

My prayer life, my devotional life, my pastoral leadership will be focused glorifying Jesus Christ.

It's sad that this even needs to be stated. But the truth is that I had it so confused with church growth, if anyone would overhear my prayers, people would have thought that church growth was the ultimate goal of my life. And that simply isn't the case for me, and it ought not be for any other Christ-follower as well.

It's got to be about Jesus Christ.

I am learning afresh what this means.

One of the things it means is that my prayer language will reflect the posture that the ultimate purpose and goal in life is to manifest Jesus glorified.

I want my life to be all about Jesus. And if the church grows as a result of people coming to experience the joy, the hope, the life, the glory in Jesus, awesome!!! Praise the Lord!!!


Anonymous said...

I love this new direction for your prayer life and for LCOP. As people experiance the love, forgivess, joy and compassion that knowing Jesus Christ as thier personal savior brings.. the church growth will follow automatically.

James said...

I agree. God is up to something at the Little Church. It is so awesome to be a part of what God is doing. Let's get busy loving/preaching/demonstrating/proclaiming Jesus Christ!

teacher_deb said...

God is so amazing and so forthright..All of us are guilty of the very same prayer postures and forget what the WHOLE picture is...Let us all continue to "boldly go where few have gone before"..Go out of our way to care about each other and ,love each other support each other , be excited by what what we incounter in God's world, that will open our hearts and eyes to where He wants us to be and what he wants us to be about.

dhollifield said...

I've experienced the same epiphany - mine came from seeing this congregation as part of the church in the world and exhibiting the KOG where we are and as we are, in partnership with the other churches in this community. I'm not ambivalent about growth, but have become more focused on Christian formation and ecumenical mission.

First Presbyterian Church Guymon said...

I had the same epiphany - mine came from a vision of this congregation as part of the larger church in the world; that we are who we are for a reason and a particular witness for the KOG. I'm not ambivalent to growth, but my focus is now more on Christian formation within the walls and ecumenical mission cooperatives outside. Jesus said that our unity would be our witness.