Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Level Ground

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
I first heard it 35 years ago at a little Baptist church in Florida: 

The ground is level at the foot of the cross!

Of course the sentence means that all persons, rich, poor, old or young come to Christ the same way – by humbling your heart and confessing Jesus as your Lord[1].  And, according to the trustworthy Gospel, we are also kept on level ground that way.

But it’s easy to catch the fever.

Church Growth Fever

Pastors are mostly to blame.  Somehow the entrepreneurial fever sets-in on most preachers and we’re off to the races to build the biggest church since Solomon’s temple.  One denominational leader in the Florida Baptist Convention told me years ago that he’d determined …to build a roof over [my] church’s 19 acres…and I came really close to accomplishing it.  Of course, the rest of his story includes him almost losing his family over the frantic push to create his religious empire.  The fever has a cost!

Now, I’m not slinging mud here – I’ve done my part to force-bloom a church.  Truth be told, when the “nickels and noses-counting” becomes more important than praising and serving, it throws the whole foundation of the church “off-level and off-center”.

Been there Done THAT!

(More accurately – I’m done WITH that!)

Don’t get me wrong here; it’s not that I don’t want to see the church(es) I serve grow.  There’s nothing holy about a church remaining small; particularly if it’s fear or prejudice against “big”.  It’s still my bedrock conviction that a healthy church will grow.  But I’m much more interested in seeing the church healthy than prosperous.

I’m with the Psalmist – I love the Lord’s house, His dwelling.  I love the level-ground of brothers and sisters living and loving in harmony, singing a magnificent life-song of praise to the Lord.

What I reject is the corporate model, with the Pastor as CEO, driving sheep like they are worker-bees to be deployed, so we can have more noses under the roof and nickels in the offering plate. 

God created us equal and if I am to exercise genuine leadership, it will be without agenda or blueprints in hand; it will be simply to praise God in, and with, the full assembly of His people. 

And that is powerful, whether it is 35 in the pews on a Sunday, or 3,500.  If God is being lifted up, praised and honored, the ground is exceedingly level!


Ask God to show you what “level” means in the vision He has for your life.

[1] Romans 10:9-10

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