It was my first Sunday at the new church; my first message to the congregation. What would I say? I think most pastors struggle. I did. Not that I don’t have anything to say. If you are a fairly seasoned pastor, you have, in fact, too many things to say; so many issues to address; so many things to do. But what should be the first thing on the agenda?
As I spoke, I said to the church, “I don’t know what your expectations are. But, then again, maybe I do. In a crowd like this the expectations are many and varied. You may have gone along on the same journey, but perceptions are different, interpretation of events are different, internalisation of the experiences are different. And depending on what you feel is important you will also expect those things to be addressed as quickly as possible. They are all valid and good. We are all good Christians who want no less than the good of the church. But good must give way to…?”
I stopped for a dramatic pause. Not expecting any kind of verbal response from this fairly conservative middle class medium-size congregation. But an extrovert shot out, “Better!” I hesitated. Seeing that was not quite what I was looking for, she shouted out again, “Best! Good must give way to best!”
I said, “That’s good, but it’s not good enough. Good must give way to?… God! And it’s more than just dropping an “o”. There is a huge gap between good and God. It is God we want, not just good. It is God that we want to glorify, not to showcase how good our church is. That means, we must want to do the God-thing, not just good things.”
In order for us to do the God-thing, we need to hear from the Lord—to hear what His agenda is for the church or our ministry, our life and our vocation. Sometimes we run ahead of God, doing things He never meant for us to do. More often than not, we lag way behind, failing to do what He says we are to do. However, I think, the reality is that we haven’t a clue what God is up to, because we have not been listening to what He’s been saying. To do the God-thing, it is imperative that we hear from the Lord. And in order to hear from the Lord, we need to seek Him. That’s the first thing on our agenda—to seek God for His agenda, whether it’s for our life or for the church.
Lim Soon Hock Empowering Churches