During a great workshop with Tom Bandy at Friendship United Methodist Church (thanks to Mike Stonbraker and Hal Noble for making this happen.), a layperson asked, “What do you do when you want your church to grow but your pastor just won’t lead in evangelism?”
I thought Bandy would respond to the question with, “you need a different pastor,” or “you and the Board get together and insist that your pastor get busy.” Bandy said none of that. He responded, “If you want to change your church or your pastor, you need to go deeper spiritually, you will need to pray more and go deeper in Scripture.”
Wow. An organizational/management guru like Tom Bandy telling us we’ll never grow organizationally without growing spiritually? Lord help us if we think we can be faithful to Christ and achieve our priorities as a church on our own. Nothing Jesus commands us to do, does he command us to do by ourselves? This is Christ’s Church, not ours. Christ’s mission, not our program.
We ought to set our Conference priorities so high, ought to hold ourselves accountable to such lofty expectations, ought to demand such dramatic results, that if we do not go deeper spiritually, we will utterly fail.
Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a church move from maintenance to ministry, from decline to growth, from the chaplain to the church members, to a mission mover to the word where someone in leadership had not explained a new dimension of spiritual depth. It’s a God thing.
When I was made bishop, that day Bishop Marion Edwards hugged me and noted, “Friend, you are just about to experience a new dimension in your prayer life.”
I found this to be true.
William H. Willimon