The world is broken. Most Christians and Church Leaders understand this theologically but seem to miss the point practically.
Practically speaking this means that the Church (a collection of broken people who live in a fallen world) will not function perfectly. Because the Church exists in a fallen world and is being pulled simultaneously between two kingdoms there will be repercussions…
Greedy members who refuse to give of their time or money.
Selfish attendees who believe the Church exists to cater to their every whim.
Angry psuedo-friends who hurt you deeply because they haven’t properly dealt with their own pain.
Deceived believers who have fooled themselves into buying the lie that intellectual assent is equivalent to functional practice.
The list goes on and on…and it shouldn’t surprise us. Many of the struggles that lead myriads of pastors and church leaders to bag the ministry can be traced back to simply having unrealistic expectations. We forget that we live in a fallen world, we lose sight of our own sin and brokenness and expect the people around us to behave as if we’re living in Jesus’ Perfect Kingdom.
The good news is that we will one day live in this Kingdom, but until then let’s not fail due to premature expectations.
The gap between life’s expectations and life’s reality is where brokenness exists. This is true for your neighbor across the street, your co-worker in the next cubicle, or anyone who has had a dream and then been struck with the reality that this desire, this hope, this longing is not going to come to pass…at least not in the way you dreamed it would.
This truth is equally relevant for church planters like myself who have launched out into life altering ventures only to have those dreams dashed upon the rocks of slander from people you thought were friends, disgruntled members who leave because you aren’t supplying all of their needs, division amongst your core over issues that we should be able to look past, sporadic attendance, and failing budgets.
It’s in these times that God gives us a gift…the gift of realizing that only Jesus can be your Savior. Only He can be the Ultimate thing in your life, for when church planting, or pastoring or preaching are propped up as a functional Savior they will suck the life out of you because you can never do enough for them and they will never satisfy you.
Our service to God must always flow from relationship with the Savior because it makes a terrible functional Savior.
Poor decisions, sinful actions, and mistakes are inevitable for life and ministry. I am thankful for the gospel that declares to me that while I have absolutely made a mess of my life, Jesus lived a perfect life in place (John 8:29). How can you learn from the mistakes that you’ve made; whether in ministry or in life in general? How can you appropriate the perfect life that Jesus lived in your place, preaching the gospel to yourself rather than living in perpetual guilt and being paralyzed by your failure.