“We’ll Be Fine When We Get a New Preacher, Elder(s)”

I was sitting with a family during a relative’s surgery. They told me about their new preacher. He was great. He preached outstanding sermons. He was friendly. He was visiting. He was perfect! Then one person said, “I know we’ll be disappointed. We always are.”

You’re correct. That’s normal — if my expectation is a new person will solve all problems in our group. A new coach can’t do it. A new president can’t do it. A new boss can’t do it. A new preacher can’t do it. A new elder (or eldership) can’t do it. I’ll be disappointed and you’ll be disappointed.

A new stereo with the latest apps won’t make a junkyard car run great and get good gas mileage.

Filling a decayed tooth won’t repair a broken arm.

A heart transplant won’t cure cataracts.

All these adjustments may be helpful, and a few may be necessary, but some or all of them won’t fix the whole.

A great new preacher won’t fix everything. The key to letting the church grow is for every member to work as it should.

If a chronic symptom upsets you, it’s because you like it the way it is more than what it would take to change it. One person cannot make the church grow.

The best way to find a good preacher is to become the kind of congregation a good preacher would go out of his way to get to work with those people.

If I’m waiting for everyone else to reach acceptable function (by my definition of acceptable) before I’ll do what I can, and everyone else has the same attitude, no one will grow and the church will continue to decline.

Joshua had the right approach:

Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:14, 15, NKJV).

  1. Here’s what you need to do.
  2. You may think what I think is the right thing is the wrong thing.
  3. You have many choices.
  4. You choose.
  5. Here’s where I stand.

My goal as an interim isn’t just to help the church find a good preacher. It isn’t in my job description to fix leadership or followership. My goal to help us all grow more into the image of Jesus so others may want to be around us and walk with us to the destination. 1 Corinthians 2:2

How can we be protected from false expectations?


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Jerrie Barber
Disciple of Jesus, husband, grandfather, preacher, barefoot runner, ventriloquist

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