If you’re a pastor, you’ve been in the meetings. You’re talking to another pastor and within 2 minutes the question comes up: “So, how many are you running?” Or it may be the more subtle, “How are things going with your church?” From childhood, it’s something that is ingrained in us. We must compare ourselves to others to see if we measure up.
First of all, this obviously isn’t healthy or biblical. But just as important, when we compare our ministry (it’s really God’s ministry) to others, we run the risk of ministry becoming nothing more then a competition. Who’s church is bigger then whose? Who has the cooler logo? Who can pull of the Rob Bell classes the best? As dumb as this all sounds, we’re all guilty of it. The question is, though, how do we kill it? How do we kill the ingrained desire for competition in ministry?
It’s really a simple answer – not always easy to do, but simple. The cure for competition is generosity. You want to kill that tendency to compare your church/ministry with the one down the street? Find their greatest need and give towards it. Maybe that’s helping them paint their youth room. Maybe it’s giving them money toward their building campaign. Whatever it is, whether time or money, invest.
That might sound completely outrageous and counter-productive to you, but aren’t we all on the same team? If you have something they don’t, it only makes sense you would help them out! If you were playing basketball and your teammate needed a pair of shoes and you had an extra pair – of course you would give them your extra pair.
So you want to eliminate the desire for competition? Give…and keep on giving.
Have you read Pagan Christianity by George Barna?
It’s very interesting. You should give it a read.
I haven’t – what’s it about?
I found this to be true with me also. One of the most comforting things for me has been to pray for the best in every church in our city. If all of Springfield decided to attend church on Sunday, there wouldn’t be enough room so I’m praying for more and more to happen everywhere. Well done yet again Nick Poole.
I give a glimpse of Pagan Christianity on my blog if you would like a bit to know about it. Much love man.
Great idea Justin! And thanks for the letting me know about your blog post – I’ll definitely check it out!!
This competition goes back a longggggggggggggggggg way. John reminds us …
1 John 3:11-12
This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
When we see someone who is more righteous, successful, handsome, powerful, etc. the temptation will always be there to try to bring them down, so that we will feel a little taller. The challenge is for us to rejoice in their success and allow it to spur us on to greater heights, as well. Thanks for this reminder Nick.
John reminds us again …
1 John 4:10-11
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
here is my question. why do pastors tend to stretch their numbers?
Great thoughts Tim!! And I think pastors stretch their numbers simply to appear to be more successful then they are…kind of goes against the whole idea of it being ‘God’s Church’.