Summary: How to be there in Jesus’ name
A Missed Opportunity
The other day I ran across the story of a man who had a great opportunity that he missed. His friend took him for a ride one day way out in the country. They drove off the main road and drove through groves of trees to a large uninhabited expanse of land. A few horses were grazing, and a couple of old shacks remained. The friend, Walter, stopped the car, got out, and started to describe with great vividness the wonderful things he was going to build. He wanted his friend Arthur to buy some of the land surrounding his project to get in on the ground floor. But Arthur thought to himself, who in the world is going to drive twenty-five miles for this crazy project? The logistics of the venture are staggering. And so Walter explained to his friend Arthur, "I can handle the main project myself. But it will take all my money. But the land bordering it, where we’re standing now, will in just a couple of years be jammed with hotels and restaurants and convention halls to accommodate the people who will come to spend their entire vacation here at my park." He continued, "I want you to have the first chance at this surrounding acreage, because in the next five years it will increase in value several hundred times." "What could I say? I knew he was wrong," Arthur tells the story today. "I knew that he had let this dream get the best of his common sense, so I mumbled something about a tight-money situation and promised that I would look into the whole thing a little later on." "Later on will be too late," Walter cautioned Arthur as they walked back to the car. "You’d better move on it right now." And so Art Linkletter turned down the opportunity to buy up all the land that surrounded what was to become Disneyland. His friend Walt Disney tried to talk him into it. But Art thought he was crazy. James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 389.
Some would tell us if you will on stay doctrinally pure, preach the word, pray more and be dedicated your church will grow. If this be true why are there many a church and pastor who do all these things and yet have feelings of guilt, feel inadequate and are frustrated?
There are many dedicated people in churches that are not growing. So the problem could not be lack of dedication. We must be dedicated but we need to develop skills that will make for church growth. The need is not to work harder but to work smarter. To become better at being skillful some of the things we will need to do are read books, listen to tapes, watch videos, use the internet, attend conferences and even look at other churches that are growing and find out why. Eccles. 10:10 “Since a dull ax requires great strength, sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” How much time have we spent sharpening our axes? Professional pilots spend two times a year a week at a time retraining and sharpening their skills away from their jobs. One might think that just doing that job would make them ok. They give as a reason for doing this as, “Because people’s lives depend on how skilled we are.” Should not the church be concerned about people in the same way? Would you want a doctor or dentist to work on you if they only used that which they learned in school ten years ago? Churches today are not growing because many are set in the past in the way we do church. Paul said that in his doing church he became an expert builder. He wanted the church to be the best it could so he did the best he could in building the church on a solid foundation. Did you know that after he was saved he spent three years alone with God before he went to preach in Syria and Celica? He was unknown to the churches in Judea and is only noticed in that they heard that the one who was persecuting the church now was preaching the faith. He was not welcomed in the church in Jerusalem until Barnabas stood up for him. God took time with Paul to make him ready to do the work in the church he did. We need to take time to learn what God wants us to do and not just rush into doing.