Is this how God intended for us to build His church? A slick postcard/mailer campaign advertising our exciting programs; a friendly atmosphere with a safe and fun children’s ministry; a charismatic pastor who can hold your attention with his deft storytelling and quick wit? As the pastor seeking to see God’s new church grow, am I to rely on the “Power of Back to School” rather than the power of the Holy Spirit? The question as I see it is, “Did God give us specific instructions on how to build the church? And, are there examples in the New Testament where we see God’s plan in action?”

Today, I was presented with a quandary. Should I insist on holding our Sunday 3pm service, or should I instruct the church to go and serve? Should I stick to the program or should I go with the Spirit? In the end, the decision wasn’t really that hard after all.

Here’s what my wife, Bobbi, wrote. (Yeah, I should let her out into the real world more often, huh?)

My husband is probably one of the most giving people I’ve ever met. Not just giving of material things, although he does do that, but rather he is very gracious with the giving of his time. He is a definite servant of the Lord. He takes the verse, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 literally. I love this about him.

About two years ago we began the journey of church planting Foundation Christian Fellowship. This has been a a very long journey but one that has done nothing but bring Brian and I closer to the Lord and each other. The hardest thing that I have had to watch is how Brian’s time has been just drained and he has not been able to help or as he would put it, “serve” others the way he has in the past. With all the administrative demands of a Pastor he has just not been able to do what he is gifted most to do – Shepherd his flock; care for his flock; serve his flock. Emotionally this has been so hard for him.

1 Corinthians 12:21-26 says: ”The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

I would call Brian a foot because he works hard and is great at carrying the weight of the body. However, for the past year I have watched him try to be hand. Not only has he struggled but I believe this has caused the BODY to struggle. The foot was never designed to do the job of the hand.

One of the families in our congregation had to vacate their home today. This has been very difficult due to the fact that they lost their home in foreclosure. The husband has been unemployed for over a year. Many in our BODY went over first thing this morning to help with the move. I was put on “kid” duty so that the parents could go serve. Brian inquired about helping but was assured that he was not needed and that he could attend to those administrative tasks that needed to be done before our Sunday afternoon service at 3PM. I received a call from Brian at 11AM stating that one of our attenders called and said that the task was too big and his help was needed after all. I could see the tumultuous situation that arose in my husband. His heart said, “go and be a pastor” his head said, “stay you have tasks to complete before service.” “Lord,” I prayed, “help him choose right.”

He chose to go over to the home and see what he could do. I know he was thinking that maybe it wasn’t that bad and he could do both. This has been the struggle that I’ve been watching in him. I called a little later and asked him what he was planning and he said, “This is going to take all day, we are going to have to cancel service today.” That is when it hit me – church WAS NOT cancelled today – instead my husband was preaching one of the best sermons that I have ever heard.

Brian preached Matthew 12:11-12 “He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” He didn’t use sermon notes. He didn’t use Powerpoint. I bet he didn’t even cover 3 points like a good pastor is suppose too. 1 Peter 5:2-3 says:
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” That is what I saw today. Brian did a James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. DO WHAT IT SAYS.”

This is a sermon that I will remember. The day that we didn’t “DO” church but rather WE WERE THE CHURCH! The best sermon that I have ever heard happened today!!!