who’s in charge of this church?


A beautiful, crayoned card came to my desk this week, obviously from a young fan. Alongside an oddly-shaped yet kind of slimming drawing of me preaching (OK, it was a stick figure), it read,

“Without you there would be no church!!!!!!!”

I love kids. And honest love from a young child is hard to beat, especially when it comes with extra exclamation points.

But this is a lot of pressure! And it is not true.

It’s a good reminder that people sometimes think too highly of their pastors. And sometimes pastors think too highly of ourselves. But it also speaks to our human desire to individualize the church to best fit us, to fulfill our wants and desires. Too often consumerism makes us live as if, “Without me there would be no church.”

Internal or external, the personal ownership dialogue flows:

What we really need is this…

I’ve been here since…

As I’ve said before, we should be doing this…

I like this music better…

My family is interested in this…

I’ve invested a lot…

Those people bother me…

This preacher feeds me better…

The best churches know that every person is an important part of the church, but that no one is essential for the church.

The church is built by, sustained by, owned by, and led by Jesus.

It is his Bride, his Body, his Temple, his Creation. HIS. And if Jesus is the Head (Col. 1:18) of the church, then we are not. There can only be one head. At best, we get to wear the nametags, “Assistant Shift Manager” in Jesus’ church.

It should be Jesus who sets the table, picks the menu, plans the playlist, and sends out the invitations to his Sunday party. Are we asking him? Are we submitting all of our church desires to Christ? Don’t forget, in the Bible, the Great Banquet’s structure and invitation list is surprising (Luke 14).

It reminds us that the Church is the one organization which exists primarily for the sake of those who do not yet belong.

Our consumerism should pale before our desire to do his Kingdom will, to be a light on a stand, and to proclaim the Good News of Jesus.

“Without Jesus there would be no church!!!!!!!!”

Its a good reminder for me when I feel like I’m in charge. When I feel like this is MY church. Or when I’m feeling the desire to shape our church to better fit me or my desires.



  1. “It reminds us that the Church is the one organization which exists primarily for the sake of those who do not yet belong.” Amen.

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