A new building, a new sound system, a new gym, maybe a new staff member, or a new worship style. The latest idea must be the missing ingredient to help bring new life and growth for your church.
We are tempted to think these kinds of human resources are the magic wand that can change the atmosphere and help our churches grow. While these may be helpful, none of these are essential. So, what is?
More than anything else, we must have an absolute dependence upon Jesus Christ. All too often we want to depend on the latest technology or newest trend or the finest coffee. Many pastors and church planters think their theological purity will guarantee God’s blessing. As important as it is, theology is not our savior. Colossians 1:17-18 cannot be clearer regarding the place of Christ in the church: “All things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together; He is also head of the body, the church.” The one essential need for every church is to lean into Christ with every breath.
Every Bible-believing leader would agree that we must depend on Jesus, but the probing question is whether our lives and our ministries offer evidence to that effect. Dependence upon Jesus would mean we are desperate to meet Him every day on our knees and in the pages of Scripture. When we get too busy to spend more than just a few minutes with God on a daily basis, we defy our declaration of dependence upon him. God is not simply the means of getting power for our ministries; God is the true longing of our hearts. God is the end, not the means. Yet, all too often we act as though the church belongs to us and we treat prayer as a vending machine to get some needed help from time to time.
Today I am asking you to imagine what would happen in your life and your church if you were to seek Him with utter abandon? What would happen if God were to demonstrate His power in your church and community? Would you be willing to find out? Are you willing to get desperate enough to pray as though your next heartbeat depends upon God? Too many leaders have a form of godliness while denying its power — in other words, practical atheism.
The only pathway to see God truly glorified in our lives and in our churches is for us to abandon ourselves to God Almighty every day. Place our lives before Him, seek His mercy, yield to His Spirit’s prompting in every thought, and ask His limitless power and grace to serve His purpose. What would happen if your life was totally committed to God’s glory above every other agenda? In the end, it is not about your success; you were put on this earth to know and to magnify the Savior. Only then can you live out His call for your life.
I pray that “you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Christ in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might” (Colossians 1:9-10).
— Marshall Blalock is pastor of Charleston First Baptist Church and president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.