Being “burnt-out” is an ever-increasing sickness in Christendom since there is an increasing urge among Christian leaders or organizations in trying to be involved in every possible activity. This often results in us losing our vision and zeal, and becoming “program or event-oriented”. Today, the church is going through an unparalleled internal challenge – the dilemma between finding out the opinion of the majority and finding out whether it is the Holy Spirit who wants the organization to go forward with a plan or an event.
God has placed a specific calling or gift on each individual or organization. The moment we try to put our hands beyond the set call, we begin to move away from the vision that God has placed on us.
When we see things/needs out of our scope of “gift”/“skills” – we can partner with people/organizations who are excelling in that specifically – The Kingdom of God is not built on one particular person or organization. The more we learn to let go and hold hands –the better is results. Ministry is not defined by being “burnt-out” by the many events that we chart out!
Here is a checklist that I suggest a Christian organization should go through before making any decision:
1) Is it personal preference or guided by the Holy Spirit?
It could be tempting for us to chart out a program or plan an event based on what we think is the need of the hour, rather than trying to know what calling God has placed in us. Oftentimes, we justify our actions by stating examples of people who states “they have been blessed” by the program/event and keep that as a guiding light in the decisions we make. This could become a dangerous mistake since people attending a cult movement may also, feel “blessed”. Let us not spiritualize our mistakes like King Saul, instead of obeying the commandment of the Lord that required him to completely destroy the enemies, brought back the best animals, and stated that he could use them as an offering for the Lord.
2) Are the decisions taken by an organization’s board/council made prayerfully?
Prayer should not just be a checklist as “opening prayer” in the agenda of the program, and ‘tarrying on the Lord for direction’ should not just be a phrase we use while preaching. Throughout the scripture, we see many examples of how the people of God tarried on the Lord before making a decision – Ezra, before the Israelites started their journey; Nehemiah, before answering the king and before building up the walls, and the apostles, before they ventured out with the gospel. Decision-making in churches should be done after praying and waiting on the Lord, and with unity among its members. It is disheartening to watch churches that decide based on lobbying, number of votes, majority, or other ulterior motives. We must not miss out on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We must remember that the church or mission belongs to the Lord who has the master plan and realize His will before we begin the work.
3) Is a person’s designation, age, or seniority being a hindrance in valuing a suggestion?
Another shameful act of churches today lies in disregarding the Godly directions that come from individuals who might not meet certain credentials like designation or seniority. Again, scripture teaches us how God used children and people from the “lower section” of society in bringing out His voice. A church or organization that turns a deaf ear to valuable feedbacks and follows an autocratic, top-to-down hierarchy is building a church empire and not the kingdom empire.
4) Do we understand the season/ time.
Even when God directs an organization to execute a particular program or purpose, we need to prayerfully discern and understand if it is for “now” or “later”. Notice how God was pleased with David’s desire in building the temple but instructed that it was to be built by his son and not by him. Let us not be like Israelites who tried to enter the promised land despite God’s command to wait.
5) Are we being too loyal to set events or programs?
Programs or events need to be re-modeled, or can even be canceled based on the situations. It is a pity to watch programs being conducted on a “ventilator mode” just to please people. We cannot stick to one particular plan or program if it has lost its meaning or purpose. We need to regularly pray and ask God for His wisdom and make necessary changes. An example I would quote is how, in many places, the order of service remained the same even when churches adapted to conducting services in “online mode” from “in-person service“ during the COVID pandemic. A re-modeling of the structure would be effective due to the change in the mode of service.
“Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. As Church leaders, cell group leaders, worship team members, youth leaders, etc., let us pause for a moment from working towards executing programs and go back to the fundamentals. Sharing the encouragements from
“..make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble” 2 Peter 1: 10
Let us pray and ask the Lord for direction and wisdom. Even if you are the only one on the board or group who prayerfully speaks up, I encourage you to do so, since you may be the one God is speaking through. Do not be discouraged thinking that your voice doesn’t matter. Prayerfully speak for the Lord wherever you are placed.
Jobin Sam Varghese