I was watching the movie, Bruce Almighty, on T.V. a couple of nights ago. What a theologically messed up, thought provoking portrayal of God giving a human being His powers so He can take a vacation! I love it!! I believe it represents the kinds of situations that happen in churches and pulpits and individual’s lives pretty frequently, figuratively speaking.
One facet that caught my attention was Bruce’s statement following the realization that he had the power of God. Perched high atop a tower, overlooking the city, Bruce shouted, “My will be done!!” Having complained to God that things weren’t being handled “right,” God handed the responsibility over to Bruce. Now Bruce was in charge . . . of everything!
Ever wonder why God isn’t working things out the way you think it should be going? Kinda scary how much worse it might be if God put one of us in charge. At the same time . . . .
– If you, the senior pastor, were in charge, how would you make things better. Oh, wait! You are in charge of your flock, aren’t you!? Well, you at least exercise a lot of power just because of the perception that people have of the senior pastor of their church. After all, isn’t the pastor called by God Himself to lead the church? However, does that guarantee that the church is functioning as God directs? Because of the “power corrupts” business, it’s easy for self to get in the way and “Bruce Almighty” to take over.
Think about it . . . how can a pastor be sure every decision he makes is what’s best for all concerned? Or is it what he might want in spite of what others desire? Unfortunately, there is no way to absolutely know what God’s will is in every situation. Some differences will potentially surface in just about any condition. Many times it’s where it’s least expected because the “right” thing to do seems so obvious, but . . . people seem to find ways to throw a kink in even the obvious. It sure is easy to take over and get what you want when you’re in the captain’s chair!
Everyone who has been called to a position of great responsibility thru ministry soon learns that it’s probably one of the more difficult jobs on the face of the earth. Trying to please a group of people and herd them in God’s direction while ministering to them satisfactorily is confusing and stressful at best. Make sure you pause to seek direction. There’s rarely a situation that demands a snap decision. So exercising patience to determine the best direction and get the church on board for a harmonious conclusion to any issue can be a daunting task.
– Staff minister, you don’t have that problem, do you? I know that wasn’t a problem for me! Since I wasn’t in the captain’s seat, there was no chance the “Bruce Almighty Syndrome” could take possession of my decision-making faculties. Right!?? Well, maybe since the staff minister is “in charge” of a small part of the flock — choir, youth group, children’s ministry, education committee, etc. — there might be a chance of the head rush of power taking over.
We all need to be careful to keep God in His proper place in our decision-making process. Humility may be one of the most difficult qualities to keep in place in our lives. Hearing complements about programs, personal ministry at inconvenient times, successful activities and programs and growing numbers make it difficult not to be self-satisfied. Sometimes the problem arises in the form of pride in one’s humility. Talk about irony!
Here are some reminders for keeping God on His Throne in your ministry –
— Practice all of those things that you hear in Sunday School about being a committed Christian. While they’re the exactly the right answers, they are frequently exactly that and nothing more . . . just Sunday School answers. It’s often difficult to be consistent in prayer, devotional time/quiet time with God, Scripture study & church attendance. Count on it being work — somedays easy, other hard.
– In Bible study, collect and regularly review God’s statements about pride and humility. Keeping God’s statements at the front of your thoughts increases the probability that you’ll remember Who’s in charge.
When those in your ministry area are complimentary about your efforts, look them straight in the eye and thank God for using them as His voice to encourage you.
– When you’ve had a great day and you’re so excited that you’re having trouble keeping your feet on the ground, remind yourself Who’s kind enough to give you that lift. Staying grounded by recognizing your Source of excitement and enjoying the thrill of God’s ministry through you to others gives credit where credit is due.
Obvious, right!?? Counting on the probability that you’re a human being, I’m also figuring that it’s a necessity to have regular reminders in the basics. I know I do — daily!
So . . . what will you do to be sure God is in charge, and not “Bruce Almighty?”
Your comments &/or questions would be appreciated.
Want to talk about how to better connect with your staff to be a more effective team? Give me a call at 225-773-8883.