In my younger days of ministry, I would accept or reject the idea of going to a particular church because of how “together” or how dysfunctional it seemed. Here is what I have discovered after 26 years in church ministry – every church will have some dysfunction because it has people. People and drama have a way of going hand in hand. Add to the fact that I have done a lot of interim work and have now fully surrendered to it, a good deal of what I will encounter will be churches that are struggling. God’s will isn’t always pretty.
Last week, I watched a podcast interview between Pastor Louie Giglio and the late Dr. Charles Stanley. Charles Stanley told of how he was pastoring a church in Florida when God called him to First Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia to be the associate pastor for a senior pastor whom he did not agree doctrinally nor respect. Some people would say, “There’s no way God would lead in such direction.” The naysayers would definitely speak a little louder against the uproar that followed when Dr. Stanley became the senior pastor. It was not Charles Stanley’s ideal, but God led him to do it. The end result was beautiful.
I could tell you stories of my personal ministry when God led me to places that were less than desirable. I’m still scratching my head about why God sent me to some of those places. The one thing I don’t doubt – He had a purpose.
Don’t be looking for sunshine and lollipops all the time. Watch out for the roses with lots and lots of thorns. You may try to avoid the thorns, but you will get hurt. It comes with the territory. When you get hurt, lean in closer to God. He didn’t promise pretty and without difficulty, but He did promise grace. Accept his grace today!
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