Big churches and big church personalities seem to be all the rage.
I was a Bible and leadership major. The material available in the Christian book market is useful, the same way that tuna fish is useful. When over eaten the toxicity levels are dangerous to the body. (Can anyone say “Bumblebee tuna!” in the same fashion Jim Carrey does as Ace Ventura?)
Now before you begin arguing with me over the need for leaders…hear me out.
Scripture has something to say about weakness. That means Scripture has something to say about small churches that are weak in the area of resources. Let’s take a look:
1 Corinthians 1:18–31 (ESV)
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Lengthy, yep. Worth it? YEP!
The church I serve in as a small rural congregation. Our attendance usually runs around 35 people. Like most small rural churches we have our “history” and our struggles from that history. We are few, our resources are few. Often our offerings aren’t very high. Our budget…well it seems anemic. We limit ourselves by focusing on our weakness while failing to recognize the power that hides in what we stumble over.
Kyle Idleman’s series, “not a fan” focuses on weakness. He states:
“It’s not that God used the cross in spite of
its weakness – he chose the cross because of its weakness.” —Kyle Idleman “not a fan”
My point: God uses people who rely on Him to empower their weakened condition. He chooses “us” when we completely acknowledge we are weak and give Him ALL of our weakness. It is where he displays His greatest glory. This spiritual truth is true of the cross, true of His people and true of His church.
Boast and live in your weakness completely submitted to God and watch what he does.
Try to prove yourself as strong and self sufficient and watch the life be sucked out of your and/or your church.
Faith is submitting EVERYTHING to God in trust, not trusting God to use only what you are willing to give.
This is one of the greatest illustrations of God’s power being displayed in weakness I have witnessed.