[featured_image]Recently I met with a church planter for lunch. He shared with me a meeting that he had been in recently with other pastors in the area. Then he held up his hand and explained what he had told them…
“This is me – the little finger. I need you – the other fingers – for the hand to do the work, to lift better.”
I was impressed by two things:
1) His humility.
2) His commitment to partnership with other churches.
His perspective was not typical of many church planters. Too many church planters think that they are the only pastor in their area that really knows what to do to reach their community with the gospel. Many of them have over-inflated egos and see themselves as the whole hand that God will use to make disciples in their city. That’s why I appreciated his humility. He didn’t have the perspective that he was the only one doing things the right way. He wasn’t bashing all the existing churches in his community. He saw himself as the “little finger” on the hand that God was using to reach his area for Christ. And he realized that he needed to partner together with others. He realized that he couldn’t do it all on his own. He needed others in the Body of Christ to “do the work, to lift better.”
I remember years ago when I was planting Lake Hills Church in Southern California. I wanted to cast a big vision for our future. I started telling others our vision: to bring the love of Christ to every neighborhood of the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond in order to establish an active presence of Christ’s church in our community.
This was a big vision! And I really wanted to see it happen. I wanted our church to do this! I started vision casting and helping others in our church to own this vision together. We began changing some of our activities to better accomplish this vision. We emphasized being the church not just going to church. We started more small groups that met in homes in neighborhoods. We offered training workshops and taught a series of messages on this vision. Then one day my wife asked me, “Isn’t it a little arrogant to think you can do this on your own? Don’t you think you should partner with other churches? Shouldn’t you emphasize that ‘we will do our part to accomplish this vision’?” I didn’t like her questions. I tried to justify my actions. But inside, I knew that she was right. I had been acting like our church was the whole hand and that we didn’t need any other fingers to help us fulfill this vision. Ultimately, I had to recognize that…“This is me – the little finger.”
I can only do my part! And the reality is – that’s all any of us can do – our part! We all need “the other fingers for the hand to do the work.”
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,
but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,
in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”
Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought to think. Value others in the Body of Christ. Look for ways to partner together to accomplish Jesus’ mission in your community.