So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts. -Zechariah 4:6
As a Pastor, I read to keep up with the state of the church in the USA. I try to read articles from our critics to see if there is something that they say is valid and to make changes if warranted. I admit that some comments put me on the defensive and make me want to respond but I have come to a conclusion that it would be a big waste of time and energy to do so.
The way that our critics want us to change to meet perceived needs may have a short-term impact, but in the long run, they will fail. Here is why. They are driven by and responded to in our flesh, our fallen human nature. The critics are often right about the issues but wrong about the solutions. Programs, policies, contemporary worship music, community outreaches or whatever else we try will all crash and burn if they lack the single most important element, the power, and presence of the Holy Spirit pointing us to Jesus.
When I was very young in the faith one of my big influences was J. Vernon McGee. He had a ministry called Through the Bible. It was a verse by verse daily 30-minute radio program that in 5 years covered the entire bible. He was a gifted bible scholar and teacher with a very west Texas twang when he spoke on the radio and called his listeners “my Beloved”. He once was asked which form of church government was best. His reply was so wise. He told the person who sent in the question that if the leaders were not filled with the Holy Spirit it did not matter how they led, they would fail. It has been 35 years since I heard those words and they are 100% true.
From my perspective, this is the number one lack in the church today, an absence of the power, presence, purpose and person of the Holy Spirit energizing all that the church does to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to win souls and make disciples as he commanded.
We can come up with church growth fads, outreach programs, evangelistic explosions, serve coffee, doughnuts or sushi at every service if we are not operating in the power of the Holy Spirit, it is all wood, hay, and stubble destined to be burned up on the day of judgment.
So let’s listen to what folks say but very prayerfully seek the Lords will, way and power to carry on the eternal work of his Kingdom. In eternity it’s all that will matter.
In Jesus name, amen.