Listening to the Experts
Bob was a pretty unassuming guy. The first time I met him he was getting over cancer and I sat with him on his back porch as we talked and I prayed for him. He soon became a favorite person to visit as he had good stories and was always willing to help in anything I needed. I soon found out Bob was a car expert. More than an expert, he sold them, ran a mechanics shop, and built race cars that held national records. If you were in the drag racing circle, then you knew of Bob and his cars. One day while visiting he casually mentioned to me that Honda had called him to build a dragster. I replied “Doesn’t Honda build cars themselves?” With a big smile and laugh he simply replied “Not like mine. “
All of that to say, Bob was an expert when it came to anything mechanical. Often I would go to him with maintenance issues with our old church buildings I’d been thinking about for months or even years. He would sit and listen, and before long he’d show me a drawing on the back of napkin that solved the problem no one else could. I soon learned that Bob was an expert, and I should listen to him. He even worked on my old truck, listening intently as the engine idled. His years of experience helped him hear the slightest difference in an engine running. When Bob said it needed something, I believed him and followed his instructions.
Everyone knows the person they can go to for help with cars, plumbing, framing, farming, computers, or any number of things. When it comes to leading a church, there are many people who call themselves experts and are more than willing to offer help. They might have credentials themselves such as ministry experience, or they might just think the have cracked the code.
How do you know which expert to listen to? Some say the key is to be organic, others say it’s to be structured and formulaic. Everyone has advice, and all are willing to share it. Many of them promise they can unlock your church for only a small monthly fee if you subscribe to their program. There are as many experts as there are methods, and almost all of them promise to fix what is ailing your church.
The truth is there is only on expert on church growth, and that is Jesus Christ. That feels like a bit of a Jesus juke even as I write it, but the fact remains that Jesus promised in Matthew 16 that He will build his church. Jesus does not say that he will help us build his church, or that we can learn from him about how to build the church. He will build his church. It’s not complex or confusing, but we try to make it so. Jesus is the only expert we should listen to, and his instructions are simple. Preach the gospel faithfully, take the gospel to the nations, remember our first love, and trust Jesus to do the building.