What could a church do if they limited themselves only to what God could do?
What would a church be capable of if they believed God worked through them?
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
I noticed in reading these Scriptures that nowhere does it say, “except for Christians in my church.” There is no asterisk, no little holy footnote to make us an exception. There is also no footnote or explanatory note making an exception for small churches, churches with little money or resources, or even churches in small towns. In fact, there is no exception whatsoever in this text. This power is available to any Christian, and for that matter, any church.
I have heard more often than I can count these words, “we’re just a small church. We are a small town church.” That merely identifies our starting point. It does not define who we are. Scripture defines who we are. We made “in the image of God.” We are God’s children. We are the Bride of Christ. As long we consider ourselves “just a small church,” we will think small. But inherent in the idea is weakness. I’ve seen the financial and attendance reports from 2007. They aren’t stellar. They are weak. So what. They tell us where we’ve been. God knows where we are going.
In 1951, J.B. Phillips introduced us to our common failing, Your God is Too Small. It might be worth your time to read, because he challenges the concept of God you picked up in Sunday School and makes you think about what kind of idol you have in your heart representing God. Is your God a kindly old man (the man upstairs), a judge (dishing out reward and punishment), a meek and mild savior (too weak to save himself from the cross), or is He the Creator (Father), the Redeemer (Jesus Christ), and the Provider (Holy Spirit)? Is your God big enough to create the stars and the atoms? Is your God big enough to handle your problems? Is He big enough to handle ours? Because only when God is understood as who He is, will you understand who you are. When God is the Infinite, the Creator, the Power and Authority over all, only then do you understand what it is to be created in His Image, His Child, and His Bride. Is your God too small? Is your God only big enough to fit into your church building? Or is your God only as big as your wallet?
In our country, we elect men and women to the highest offices in our land, and the Presidency. We elect them based on a number of factors, which appeal to the widest majority of people. Only rarely are we concerned what his or her spouse looks like, speaks like, or even what she or he thinks. We don’t elect their spouse. We elect the President. Now imagine that that potential first lady believed she was the most important part of the election campaign. Imagine that she believed it was because of her that people elected her husband to the Presidency. This is the trap that the Church gets into, because she believes that it is how dynamic and persuasive she is that people come to believe in her husband, God. She believes it is because of her power and resources that people come to Christ. The power of the president doesn’t come from the first lady. But the power of the first lady comes from the president. The first lady can be short, fat, ugly, and completely clueless, but she will still be First Lady. Likewise, the Church can be small, ordinary, weak, and inept, but she is still the Church because God is God, and she is His Bride.
If we truly believe that this church is weak, powerless, and of little importance, then NOW IS THE TIME to trust in God beyond all we can imagine and beyond our ability to PAY FOR. “My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) God is glorified in our weaknesses because it proves that the power doesn’t come from us, but from Him. Because of this, it is time now to take on a project that will stretch our faith, and push through beyond it. We need a goal and a project so HUGE that only God can make it happen. What program, what project, what staff decision, what building program, what IDEA is so big, and yet vital and aligned with God’s redemptive purpose, that this Church be poised to do right now? Don’t be afraid to dream. Don’t be afraid of the Board. Be afraid of the God who gave you the idea that you didn’t follow up on. Do you have faith to get out of the comfortable boat and follow Jesus upon the waves? Anything is possible as long we don’t look away? As long as we keep the first goal, to the glory of God the Father and of His Son Jesus Christ, anything is possible! Anything. Dream Church, dream! And then tell us what you’ve got in mind. No idea is too big!
It’s time to get rid of the “small church” moniker. It’s only a paraphrase of “small-minded.” As the Cable Guy says, “GIT-R-DONE!”