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Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to build a great church

Someone noted this similarity between playing bagpipes and throwing a javelin blindfolded, "you don't have to be good to get everyone's attention!"  What kind of person gets your attention?  The Bible tells us the kind of person kings and other prominent people are searching for in proverbs 22: 9, "Do you see a man who excels in his work?  He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men."  Cream rises to the top, and excellence in work and character stands out like a diamond in the mud.  First Timothy 3:13 reveals that God honors deacons who are committed to excellence in their work for Him, "Those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith  which is in Christ Jesus,"  Deacons, as well as other disciples of Jesus, can serve well, or be guilty of serving God in less than excellent ways.  A lack of excellence in our work for God will not please Him.  Jeremiah 48:10 reveals the seriousness of serving God in a shoddy and less than excellent way:  "A curse on him who is lax in doing the Lord's work"  (NIV).  The New American Standard Bible renders this verse, "Cursed be the one who does the LORD'S work negligently."  Elders, preachers, deacons, song leaders, Bible class teachers, yes- every Christian at every position of service to God -  can serve well, or we can serve poorly.  We can excel, or we can be lax and negligent.

Mark 7: 34 says about Jesus, "He has done all things well," revealing that Jesus was committed to excellence in His service to God and to us.  A Lord who did His best for us deserves the best we can do for Him.  A church cannot excel unless the members who make it up are devoted to excellence.  How excellent are you in living, loving, giving, forgiving, attending, worship, praying, teaching, and serving?  John Gardner said something worth considering about excellence, "The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is in an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy.  Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water" (Leadership magazine, Summer, 1993).  Nor will the notion that we can scorn excellence and tolerate shoddiness in our service to God!  If you want to hear God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant," you must commit yourself to doing well and being faithful and being a servant.  The church excels in service to God when her members do.  Anything less than excellence is less than God deserves.

Dan Gulley

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