Sometimes life forces us to seemingly start all over again. We start the Christmas Fund again this year. Many of us make plans to start working out again. As Pastors, we start this week’s sermon again. Others start the diet again. I start reading that book I want to finish again. I start taking a nap after the phone awakened me. Some start to pray again after falling asleep. All of us start and stop things all throughout our day.
It just gets overwhelming…start, start, start! This summer, I went to see my doctor for a rash that had STARTED and was spreading on my body. I had been working out hard at our gym and it was like my body was freaking out. I was praying and concerned as things were getting worse. What happened next simply startled me.
As the nurse’s assistant was taking my blood pressure, her mannerisms changed as she checked the digital screen. Her demeanor changed to quiet and I could tell something was not good and I had a feeling it was my blood pressure. I asked her, what were my numbers and as she read them out loud, I remember saying that does not sound good. She shook her head and her now white face went out the door. I remember thinking, Oh brother, what now?
It just got worse…in walked the nurse and she discussed the rash and gave me a RX cream for it that I later found out was not the right kind of medicine to use. Yep, the rash got worse and spread more on my skin, literally through much of my body. But, the nurse said something very wise and helpful, yet stunning.
Your blood pressure has gone way up and we cannot let you leave this building without checking it again and coming up with a solution. The machine STARTED again and the blood pressure was high the second time. The nurse looked at me and said we need to START you on some blood pressure medicine immediately. In fact, I am hesitant about even letting you out this door to pick up the prescription. There is something that I can give you that lowers it suddenly but the lowering can cause a crash that could be just as bad as or worse than the high numbers you have now.
I came in for a rash but was treated properly for something I did not even know I had. My blood pressure had never been high like this. The nurse got me started on a low dosage of Lisinopril that has drastically brought the blood pressure down and I am continuing some great workouts. Several trips to a separate doctor (a Dermatologist) has gotten the rash healed up using a different cream, Ketoconazole 2%.
The point is, the Lord got my attention to secure treatment for a rash, but He was really bringing out a much more significant problem. The even greater matter that needed to be addressed was my blood pressure going up and I did not even know it, but He did. People can have strokes or heart attacks with numbers sustained that I had just received. So God graciously dealt with an issue that was desperately at hand.
Sometimes, the same is true in the pastorate. What we see on surface is not even the same as what is going on in the heart of the church. People are itching their bodies when actually tension is boiling in relationships. Often the Lord sees things from another perspective than we do.
Reinvention calls for looking at things from a different angle. It requires us to lay down past perceptions and START all over again. It may mean letting go of some or all of the base of your church… the defeated relationships (you know the ones that seek to hold you hostage through their giving or their influence) and beginning new relationships that will outgrow the old base.
Sometimes, you have to Replace the Carnal Coralle. Reinventing your church can come from simply seeing other leaders become healthy and not being stuck with or on those who wear you down or defeat you. The more healthy leaders you train then the less influence the Carnal Coralle can have. This is especially true with new members and new influencers in your church. Meet with them in small group settings and one to one or couple to couple. Cast vision for Church Renewal and Health. Study the Word of God together and how to apply the Word moment by moment.
Carnal Coralle is time consuming, costly emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially but it will release more blessing from God and provide health from within the church and from without. If you have the calling to see your church renewed, then you must look at things with a FRESH START in mind.
You have prayed to the Lord and asked Him to blaze new trails for your ministry. You have sought Him and pleaded for Him to break through and bring individual and church revitalization. You want people to respond to the Gospel and then get serious about their faith. Revitalization and humility go together. God may just be answering your prayers differently than you thought.
He may be acting now to give you victory over the Carnal Coralle. It just may look differently. You may go to Him for one thing and come out with an answer that looked differently. Basically, that is a big part of Acts 10. Peter went up at noon to pray…God had honored the prayers of Cornelius and had spoken to Cornelius in Caesarea around 3 pm the day before. Peter’s answered prayers were not exactly what he anticipated. Yours may not be either.
Reinvention looks at things differently. How do we START all over again…or how do we start again, but yet use the God given resources of people, facilities, funds and focus to make a difference for the King and His Kingdom. What does He intend to do through you and your congregation? You are not alone. You may be lonely at times, but you are not alone.
- Breaking the old mold
- Looking at things differently
- Expecting the Lord to do a New Thing
- Accepting and Acting on Answered Prayer that is Different
- Taking Risks
- Replacing defeated thinking and trusting God
- Developing relationships with New People
- Giving Vision to both the New Leadership Base and Carnal Coralle
- Seeing the Carnal Coralle outgrown to where they are a minimal voice
- Letting the top non paid and paid leaders in your church know you will outlast them
- Gaining more confidence in your own skin and leadership
- Listening carefully to the Lord
- Investing in new leaders and not being manipulated
- Training existing leaders who are faithful to reproduce and multiply
- Challenging other churches and executives to invest in the vision God has given you
- Seeing things that God has said as reality
- Being patient for God to unfold His vision and resources
- Reading Biographies and Auto Biographies of great leaders who overcame adversity
- Watching videos such as We are Marshall, where hope was instilled when devastation reigned
- Looking at pictures of Nepalese people who are reinventing and rebuilding after the earthquake
- Studying great churches that have seen Turnaround churches
- Telling your congregation the great things God is doing in your midst
- Speaking words of God given faith as to where the Lord is taking your church
- Sharing your faith and seeing new friends come to Jesus Christ
To REINVENT is to open your mind to new paradigms and to think out of the box. It is to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and lay aside all former traps and encumbrances. It is to live in the Word of God and live as He really is God. He is the Revitalizer.
Be on the alert, your irritant or rash in your ministry, just could be a minor issue compared to the deeper boiling threat that is at the heart of the matter. Go see the Doctor. He is called the Great Physician.