In today’s Information Age, it has become increasingly simple to see what churches around the country are doing. We have more contact with people and churches than ever before. We are able to see what the best and biggest are doing every week! We can research innovative churches like Lifechurch.tv, National Community Church, or NewSpring. We can watch services from some of the country’s largest churches like Lakewood Church, Saddleback Church, or Willow Creek Community Church. These are exciting days!!
The one problem that arrises, however, with this access to such incredible information is what we do with it. For many pastors, their goal is to be the next Mark Batterson or Joel Osteen. They long to see there church become Lifechurch or Saddleback. As great a vision as this is, it’s not really a vision for your community. This week I’ve been reading about King Solomon in 1 Kings. His story is an amazing one. He is the one chosen to build the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. He is able to do something that no leader of Israel had ever done up to that point – to build a restingplace for the glory of the Lord. After reading about this incredible feat, you’re hit with stories about how Solomon’s Palace was even more spectacular than the Temple of God and of his incredible riches and his many wives. Finally, in the middle of 1 Kings 11, God makes this statement to him:
“11 Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
Solomon became so wrapped up in his status and how he measured up to other kings around the world, that he had lost focus with what was really important. Consequently, God removed his hand of blessing from Solomon. As incredible as many of the churches I listed before are, God has not called us to be Craig Groeschel or Rick Warren. When the great churches of our country become our standard or measuring stick, we have completely missed the mark already. We have to get on our face before God and hear what God has for our community and our church! Go ahead – research the churches around the country that are on top of their game, and learn from them. But don’t compare yourself to them. They are what they are because they are reaching those God has called them to. You need to be what God wants you to be to reach your community. Don’t compare, but in seeing what they’re doing, let it compel you to greater levels of excellence and creativity. Let it inspire you!! What do you think?