Church plants live and die on volunteer leaders. I am constantly amazed at the faithfulness and effectiveness of our volunteers. Unfortunately, our people don’t always realize how thankful I am because I only think it instead of saying it. While gratitude itself is a matter of attitude and heart, communication of gratitude is a matter of execution and intentionality. Here are three things that help me and our leaders to be more intentional about saying thanks.
If you think about it, the world is full of untrue, unsound, unbiblical theology. It is important we know where it comes from so we can better understand it, speak against it, and protect ourselves and others from it.
We live in an era of such rapid technological advancement and in a society that so values efficiency, productivity, and immediate results that we can hardly help but assume that the faster things happen, the better. Therefore, we often don’t value the precious benefits of slow growth.
Why is this the verse for introverts to memorize? It provides a checkpoint for the introvert’s soul. Because we do find strength and energy in being alone, we can easily too quickly escape there at the expense of those God has put around us. Rather than listening, engaging, empathizing, or confessing, we can hide behind the nuances of our personalities. And when we constantly do that, we start to form an unhealthy image of those around us. We can very quickly forget the fact that every other human being in creation is a fellow image-bearer, and as such, is entitled to our respect and kindness.
We’re in the age of the “Kidification” of America. We adults watch comic-book movies, wear the shorts and leggings that seven-year-olds have traditionally worn, take our favorite games with life-and-death seriousness, show up late to the functions we attend, refuse to build a vocation in order to hold a series of jobs that we never truly commit to, spend above our means and thus incur heaping debt, opt out of our commitments on a whim, snark and blurt out a constant stream of commentary on social media, narcissistically whine about how hard life is (to people whose lives are demonstrably harder than ours), and act wounded when confronted with our faults.
This has served as a lesson for me as a pastor. Those outside your church don’t come to your church because of things you do inside your church. Unless you want to attract church hoppers who behave like cats chasing laser pointers, nobody cares about your slick campaigns or the changes you make inside your doors. Simply because they don’t know they exist. Nobody cared about my new color edition of The Gazette because nobody was reading what I wrote. I could have put millions of dollars into each copy and hired the best of writers and it wouldn’t have added a single reader.
A favorite from the archives:
Oh, I pray, of course. I try to pray as soon as someone asks. I try to make a habit of praying the Scriptures. I pray with my kids and give thanks at meals and (usually) before I write… But there are times when I don’t. When I feel too busy. When I think there isn’t a point in praying about a specific issue because, well, God already knows.
This is what I have to fight against. And this is what I always have to remember, which is why I keep reading and writing about it. No great man or woman of the Christian faith was so because of a lack of prayer. In fact, it was prayer that made them great.