BUILDING BUILDINGS OR BUILDING PEOPLE ?

There is a vast difference in the above mindsets. And unfortunately sometimes to explain a mindset it is effective to explain what it is not, to really understand what it is. 

 

Many churches desire growth and I believe we should all believe God for growth as it is part of advancing the Kingdom, but sometimes growth is pursued at the expense of godly principles not to mention pure motivations that should have taken a higher priority for the sake of the person.

Many churches are focused on souls and winning souls and filling buildings and paying for new buildings and bigger buildings and better buildings, but if one of those souls “fall in sin” they are not pursued with the same enthusiasm to restore them and love them back to life, as they were, sadly, when they were becoming another added number to the church. There is something wrong with that picture: We don’t see Jesus in it!

Having pastored for over 30 years now, we have seen a lot, we have made alot of mistakes sadly, we’ve experienced a lot, heard a lot, learn’t a lot, died to self a whole lot, laughed a lot, cried a lot, added some friends then made some real covenant friends, and each new level brought with it new anointings, new challenges and new victories, and through it all God remained God in our lives.
 
We have been whole and we have been broken, now I won’t lie whole is better –  but what you learn and gain in brokenness is priceless.
It’s from this place of understanding and openness and hopefully humility and crying out to God for His will more than anything that we learn to love people more than buildings, and climbing the Christian celebrity ladder and finally realize what’s more important and that is to commit to walking people through their fall in sin/sickness/ depression/ adultery/ brokenness/ guilt/ shame, and of course the big one for religious people:homosexuality, and choosing to do the right thing rather than the legalistic or politically correct thing and rather choose to love these people back to life.  
Hey! We ALL have something we are working through and if you think you don’t, you are doing the worst kind of lying, lying to yourself. 
 
We are not foolish enough to think that everyone will be helped through our ministry and made whole especially when they reject or don’t agree with biblical council, but that’s no reason to quit or give up on trying to love people back from some very dark places in their lives, and it’s many of these people who go on to become the greatest assets in a church because they have already been to the other side and seen that the only reason the grass is greener there, is that there is more manure on that side and it’s not a bed of roses smelling of lavender & chamomile – the perfect essential oil remedies for calm and peace and tranquility.  They were sold a bad deal. 

The leader who has a heart for the Kingdom has to ask, “Will I help people even if it hurts my organization?” That is a tough question for any leader. Jesus no doubt dealt with this issue. Once, a man who was suspected of extreme racism began to attend our church.

This was about 25 yrs ago when he offered us R30k which was a huge amount of money back then in 1987, (our second year in ministry) if we would not allow black people in our church, we could not deny the truth and rejected the offer and told him he would have to find another church where that kind of manipulation would be tolerated, but we where not the church for him, it cost us some church members too.

Which often is a by product of standing up for what is right rather than what is popular. We have had many inter racial relations developed in our church even before the referendum for change in our nation (South Africa 1984) – where our province was the only province to vote NO.  Many black, white, colored and even Indian people got saved and continue to get saved in our church but what we got was a smaller church attendance in some cases. But how did the Kingdom benefit? And was that enough for us to know we had done right by God. Was the loss of some church  members and financial support, more important than the souls being saved and the racial inequality demolished,  not a more powerful message that we where sending to our community in Polokwane at the time. 

Our church was one of the first integrated churches in our city. We had a multi racial staff and leadership team. And We performed integrated marriages in our city. Many would have warned against it, being sure it would hurt our church. In fact many churches refused to perform interracial marriages for that very reason. They were afraid of losing big givers. But what did the Kingdom gain? What was modeled to the world and our church about the Kingdom of God? There was no difference between what We have faced through the years in ministry and what Jesus faced for preaching to the Samaritans.

 

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus seemed to strike at the very core of this exclusion of ministry based on social factors. He was mocked and accused because of his inclusion of the poor, the sinful, the outcast and those of racially rejected backgrounds. Yet, this simple parable stabbed at the hypocrisy of the racial heart.

 

The way the carnal mind keeps score; and the way that church growth is perceived as an endorsement on character or being a mark of success today I’m sorry to say seems more carnal than Christlike. Jesus would have been perceived not to be a good leader with the standards that are used today. Jesus ministry ended with 120 in the upper room. “A 120 left in his church” He would definitely not have been offered a seat on the front row at the conference, that’s for sure. 
To the carnal mind growth of the organization or “corporation pushed ministry” or those motivated by the fear of legalism and threats of hell and not making it to heaven and pressurized like a sales team to meet targets is the true earmark of success by the carnal minded today.

 

But it seems that Jesus had something else in mind. In the beatitudes Jesus seemed to say that the very people that were considered the losers of the day, by the religious community, were the very people who had a heart to grasp the Kingdom of God. Jesus didn’t seek out those who had the power and resources to help him build a large affluent following. 
Which by the way is not “heaven” but within you in the form of righteousness, peace & joy. Jesus did not preach a heaven centric gospel. Our goal is to be transformed to His image not an escape route to heaven if we play our self righteous cards right. Jesus message was not tied to a place”heaven” but to a person. “Let us make man in our image has always been God’s plan and purpose for mankind.
 
Those who had a revelation of how much God loved them and that they would never be able to love him with their whole hearts in return, because to do that they would have to keep all His commandments, just be honest with yourself you know you can’t do that, that’s why the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross at Calvary is the most beautiful love story you will ever encounter, who would embrace His grace, and receive His immeasurable love for them by faith which would  release them from the need to be judgmental or critical or guilty but rather empower them with mercy and grace and love to see people the way Jesus does as valuable and precious to God.
 
Loving people back to life out of a sinful fall or life of sin or sickness or financial crisis is not easy, or the shortcut to success – but it certainly is the most satisfying way to live and be a real influence for good and love and grace and mercy  in a sinful, cruel and lawless society that we find ourselves living in today.
How do we change it at Light of the Nations? 
One life at a time 

Is it possible?

All things are possible to those who believe 

Can I do it?

Yes, if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior of your life, you not only qualified to do it, you have the love of God shed abroad in your heart be the Holy Ghost, and a ministry given to you by God to reconcile man back to Him, the goal is to grow & multiply in grace which is a constant goal. 
The Bible clearly talks of growing in grace or multiplying in grace – it’s an empowerment to walk in His righteousness and truly love people back to life, no matter where they may find themselves or in what stage of life they may be at.

 

Our vision at Light of the Nations is to raise sons of “substance” who raise sons of substance. Faith being the substance.

 

We choose to deliberately teach, lead, mentor, feed, coach (whatever word you choose to be comfortable with) love people back to life.

 

You are not what you have done, you are made in the image of God and if you have become lost in your true identity we want to guide you back to it. Sin is an identity problem. You just don’t know that the whole world is groaning in agony for the (gk = hious) mature sons of God.

 

Those who will reflect Christ accurately to the world, those who are naturally supernatural who would use what the Word has given them to empower them to love people back to life, one life at a time.

 

Is that You?
Then you will fit right in here at Light of the Nations.