During a recent leadership team meeting someone asked what to say in response to questions about families that have left our church during this replanting season. “What do we say when someone asks why?” I quickly responded, “Say that the gospel wasn’t enough for them.”
Now my answer was a little tongue in cheek, there are surely myriad reasons for those that had once committed to the church to leave in search for something more ideal. Often it is out of care for family or social networks they can’t find anywhere else. But really, the gospel is all our little church has to offer so there does come a point where we hope it is enough! We don’t have great preaching, or musical production. We don’t have bulging student ministries (we have 2 high school students in the whole church) and while we have great curriculum, our Children’s ministry is small just like the rest of our ministries!
After some good conversation we decided against my answer, thinking it better for those interested to simply reach out to their friends and ask them personally. But I have been thinking about it ever since and it has struck me upside the head as we had record attendance at our worship gathering yesterday.
Record low attendance.
The question has been turned back onto me. Is the gospel enough for me, as a pastor? Am I attempting to find my justification in numeric goals, robust budgets, ministries to engage my children, gifting, a sense of energy… really in anything other than Jesus’ work on the cross and his declaration of “it is finished!”
Truth is I do find comfort in many of those things, and I hate it. It is proof that the gospel is not enough for me… I try to negotiate with God for more than the manna he has given. “Just let me have this or that and I will finally be happy…” The response always comes “Be happy in me.” And that is what I want.
So in his providence, God prunes, trims, seemingly devastates, all so I, and maybe you, will see him as enough. To own the gospel, the finished work of Christ for you, as enough.
Toward that end then, we keep on. Because the gospel really is enough. Frankly, there is nothing more. I am praying that this will be more true in my life and I am praying it will be more true in yours. The fullness of Christ is meant for all of life. Lord help us see it, own it and live from it for your glory.