The Church I Want to Lead | In Other Words

church doorI am a young pastor. I have limited experience on many levels, and because of that I know that there are not many who would give much weight to my words. Years ago, as a student, I could have told you what type of church I wanted to work in, and the type of people I wanted to minister to. I wanted to be a part of a church that had some history; that had thriving ministries, and had enough money in the bank to cushion any hardships that may come their way. I wanted plenty of people to pick from when it came to having a need for volunteers and I wanted a church that was progressive and valued new ideas. I had so many ideas (if money was no object and people were abundant of course). Back then, my idea of success revolved around shrinking seating space, and expanding offerings. In fact, if everything worked out well, then I may get into a church that had excellent music, incredible preaching, and a flexible congregation that really wanted to try new things.

Over a period of time, as I grew in confidence and knowledge, I began to have complaints. My first church was somewhat small, and didn’t really have much of a budget for the youth program I was leading so I often sat in my office and felt sorry for myself and blamed everything else for why my ministry wasn’t growing. I began to become jaded about the church for various reasons (they still sing from hymnals, they sat in pews, they needed new carpet, they didn’t have a very nice website). Surely all of these things PROVED they didn’t want to grow. If they valued ministy, then they would pay me more so I could do more things. I would sit around, in a mental autopilot, waiting for things to change so that “real ministry” could begin.

After being a youth pastor for a while and seeking more education, I started to realize the horrible faulty thinking I had come to believe. I realized I was the problem…not the old furniture or traditional music. It was ME. My heart and mind needed to conform to God’s.

Then, God called me to start a new church. At first, my thoughts revolved around ways this new congregation could be cutting edge, different, and set apart from any other church in town. If it was different and exciting, then people would come to my church instead of any other. If you know me now, you may be surprised that this was my thought process, because over the last 5 years God has completely transformed my heart and now I desire to lead a church much different than the one I used to crave. I have a new desire.

Now… I want to lead a church who:

…cares more about the broken than looking all put together.

…welcomes the single parent, widow, and widow and desires to be a source of encouragement for them

…prays for those who do not look, smell, or sound like them and embraces them with compassion

…will give up their comfort and be sacrificial for the advancement of the kingdom

…will put God’s word into action

…will do things that are bad for business but great for relaying the gospel

…will welcome the abused, rejected, oppressed, and hated

…will hate sin so much that they are willing to be grace agents

…will seek what sacrifice truly means

…will welcome the sinner no matter what their sin, and treat them with respect and dignity

…will follow God into the darkness; ready to be the light

…will do everything they can to see other churches grow

…will accept the fact that the Church must be real and transparent

…will not be a different person in the seats than at home

…want passionate worship instead of manufactured praise

…want to serve more than want to be served

…understand that “being fed” means feeding too

…want imperfection in-process instead of processed perfection

…desire God’s will to be done no matter church size, money in the bank, or political climate

…look at the world around them with love instead of bitterness

THAT is the church I want to lead.

I’m sure glad I do 🙂

-Landon DeCrastos

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The Right Lighting

Recently, I have made several trips to the paint store to find a certain color of paint to cover a newly spackled door frame. This project, which is in the process of being complete by someone I work with, is one of many that need to be done at work. My job, like any administrator of my type, is to visit the necessary stores that have the requisite supplies for the assigned tasks.

Last week, the man who does odd jobs for the church told me to go get paint for the door frame. He said that the paint store would have record of this paint color and all I would have to tell them is that it was a yellow shade, and the only bucket of that kind of color we have ever bought from them.

Well, I traveled to the paint store only to realize that we had used the other paint store down the road. When we both visited the correct place, we found out that we have never bought any yellow-type paint that we were describing.

When I went downstairs to look at the color, I thought it looked more beige than yellow (people who know me are laughing right now….because I am color-blind)…and the search process started over again.

After taking a chip off the wall and bringing it into my office, we realized that we were both wrong. The inadequate lighting was the culprit…in combination with the fact that I can’t see color properly.

If the enemy of our souls had his way, he would be the one providing the lens by which we view the world. He wants us to view the world in the dark, and miss the details.

When we talk about things like “being the light of the world”, and “Jesus is the light”, we are describing more than just a solution for darkness. Proper light can allow us to see things as they truly are made to be. God’s perfect light allows us to see the world through the lens of truth. We cannot simply rely on our abilities, discernment, or sight.

Today, ask God to show you the needs of the world around you. Shine God’s light so that His message can be clearer.

-Landon DeCrastos