It's Time To Long For What You Have!
We live in an amazing era in the church world. There are so many options available to us in terms of technology, communications, information, and method. We can learn from the best of the best. We can access the best leaders, the most creative thinkers, be edified by the most effective communicators and preachers. All of this is at our fingertips everyday, because we can google it all at any moment.
But one of the unintended consequences of all of this amazing information is a feeling of inferiority and inadequacy in whatever we actually lead. Dino Rizzo recently referred to a phenomenon called ‘social media envy’. He encouraged pastors to avoid being on instagram on Sunday afternoon and Monday, because the temptation is to compare yourself to what you see others presenting in their highlight reels of ministry.
Isn’t it so true. We can do this in so many areas of our life. We can fail to love the church that we have and long lustfully for the church of our dreams, the church that someone else pastors, or the church we see reflected in the social media highlights.
One the best marriage principles that I have ever heard, and try to both teach and practice is this.
What you appreciate - appreciates (grows in value).
What you despise - depreciates (lessens in value.
So if I spend my time treasuring my wife, and appreciating her best qualities, I will find that my heart will grow in satisfaction and appreciation for her. But if I despise who she is, and long for other women. If I compare her to women I see online, and find her wanting - my satisfaction levels begin to decrease.
Not only is it wrong to long for what you don’t have, it is also very ineffective!
Let me challenge you as a pastor and leader to think about your church, your team, your people from the same vantage point. You need to appreciate and treasure what you have. Find value in those you lead and pastor. Find value in the size of your church. Appreciate the community you are in. Remember what Jesus said, ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart will also’ (Matt 6:21).
This will not only help you to be more satisfied in your ministry, it will help you discover what your church does better than any other church in the world. You see, one of the other massive problems with ‘social media' envy’ is that we tend to mimic what we see as successful. There are many small churches trying to imitate what they see the mega church doing.
Now, there may be some value in adopting some best practices and transferable principles to what a highly effective and fast growing church is doing. But what we can often miss when we mimic someone else, is the strategic advantages that our size or community offers to us. There are some things that smaller churches, in more challenging communities, can do better than the mega-church can do.
In fact, there are some things that God wants you to do, that are totally unique to you, your people and the place where you live. If you can figure that out - you begin to step into something that is incredibly special.
Over the past few weeks, I have discovered something that we do at Allison Park Church that is very unique to us. I think that what we are waking up to realize is something that might also be helpful to many other pastors and leaders around the country.
What is it that we are discovering? It is something that I am calling THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHURCH.
Very simply put, the Neighborhood Church is not a Mega-Church.. It is not a congregation with a huge ‘big box’ building or even the potential for thousands of people to attend. it is more of a small to midsize congregation, present in a community of need. And yet, this Neighborhood Church, is connected to a larger vision with other Neighborhood Churches who are doing the same thing.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to unfold the philosophy behind this. So stay tuned if this is something that makes you curious to learn more.