“This church needs some significant help.” It crosses your mind as you enter the building for the first time and start reading the materials. You see wasted space, unfriendly greeters, dated graphics and uninspiring messaging. You instantly decide that this church is your new personal project and that your presence and wisdom will bring life-changing success to, what is in your mind, an already dying body.
You start scribbling on your bulletin during the truly dry message. You’re critiquing everything from the pastor’s clothing to the service’s transitions. You are God’s gift to this church and if they will only listen to you . . .
Hindsight is 20/20. This person is me. Or at least it has been.
Now if you had told me that I was this person, I would have deftly responded with, “I’m just trying to help!” Ah, the lies we believe. I wasn’t trying to help. I was trying to write a prescription for an illness that I was neither fully aware of nor even remotely equipped to diagnose.
This is how the ever-present danger of pride in the world of branding, marketing and ministry shows up. I call it the “I did it” mentality.
Regardless of how much a ministry may experience positive change as a result of implementing any grand suggestions, that change is only by the grace of God.
Here is the meat of it: There is a fine line between wisdom that follows God’s guidance and knowledge that usurps it.
It is through thoughtful and prayerful wisdom that positive change can be made in the core of a ministry. Only when change occurs in that manner does it have the potential to be all-encompassing and effective. If change is initiated based on a cookie-cutter method that “makes sense,” God is removed from the equation and it becomes a man-made vehicle of change.
In ministry, that won’t end well.
Be humble. Listen well. Resonate.