A Word from the Pastor
I was sitting in the office of the Executive Director of Hospice this week, and the topic of good intentions came up. It was a stimulating discussion! His point being that good intentions do not equal commitment to the task. Only a total commitment will yield the desired results. Because the Executive Director is a preacher's kid, we could use biblical comparisons and understand immediately what the other was talking about. For example, what would have happened to the first century church if the disciples had not been committed to the task to the level of giving their lives? Yes, they had a purpose (a mission statement in today's language); and they had a plan (a vision statement in today's church language). But how far would that purpose and plan go if total commitment had not been a part of the mix? My Executive Director quoted his Methodist pastor-daddy, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions! If Daddy has said that once, he has said it a thousand times." Plans can change, but the purpose must remain clear and commitment must remain strong in order to bring into reality the desired results.
The first century Christians did not have "how-to" books or seminars to attend, but they got the job done because of total commitment. I am still amazed, that a short 270 years after Jesus ascended; these disciples and the disciples who followed them had won half of the known world to Christ. I am even more amazed that the fact they gave their lives to accomplish this seemed a small price to pay. As we witness Christianity shrinking and churches closing in America, I wonder about our level of commitment. Never had we had so many "how-to" books, and yet, never has the Church been so anemic in sharing the Gospel. To stem the tide, denominations have trained consultants to work with churches to clarify their purpose and come up with a plan that everyone can agree upon. And yet, all this effort and energy does not translate into increased baptisms and growing disciples. The reason? The key to success is commitment.
While I pastored in New Orleans, the pastor's secretary came to the church office laughing one Monday morning after visiting her home church in Mississippi over the weekend. She said, "You will not believe the level of disorganization that I witnessed in my home church this weekend." She said, "The pastor announced at the conclusion of worship.’the tithe envelopes are in and they are in the vestibule. Just pick up a pack and when you tithe next Sunday, we'll see what number is on the envelope and assign that number to your records.' “She said, "I like to have fallen out! How disorganized!" Then she said, "What amazed me even more is that people stood in line for fifteen minutes to get their tithe envelopes!" And then she paused for a moment and then commented, "That church is in revival, and I have never seen such commitment."
Our church is in the midst of revisiting our purpose and our plans. We are setting up a time to visit with the renowned church consultant, Dr. David Odom. The church consultant for the Cooperate Baptist Fellowship, Andy Hale, a highly talented man, is working with us. Every thing is in place for success. Now, only one ingredient left: commitment.
Celebrating Certain Victory!