One of the things I found frustrating about the book The Kingdom-Focused Church by Gene Mims was the amount of time he took introducing the material (an introduction and the first two chapters) before getting to the meat of the book. Even so, it was in this lengthy bit of building up to the real ideas in the book that he gave great food for thought—especially for pastors. Over the years I have head statistics that have placed pastoral tenure averages at anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. This is a disturbing thought (of which I don’t have the most current numbers—feel free to enlighten me if you have something newer than 2000 stats).

            With this issue in mind it isn’t surprising that regular church members are becoming less and less committed to the church. Some will be adamant about being in church, but few are concerned about the church they are in—perhaps even being “active” in three or four congregations at a time. People don’t know what they believe let alone what the church they attend teaches. They wander from congregation to congregation without regard to the doctrines and teachings of that church, that denomination, that preacher. Instead, people are looking for a place they like—where they have a “connect” and can feel good. And preachers lead the way. Why? Because of a desire to find the perfect church or the church that may not be perfect but where we can be instrumental in the change needed to make a step toward the perfection we desire.

            (Quick note: there are times that God moves in such a way as to move people from time to time, and this can even happen after only a short stay in one place, but this—to me—would seem to be the exception rather than the rule.)

            Now here’s what we find from Mims:

            [T]he only church you can change is the one you’re serving in right now. You can’t develop an effective plan for improving the church you have if you’re also hard at work on your exit strategy, pining away fro the church of your imagination, or wishing for the one you left ten years ago.

 

            He further says, “Your church isn’t the church you want; it’s the church you have.”

            Personally, I’ve always contended that for a preacher to move from being the “preacher” to being the “pastor” of a congregation, it takes at least five years. Mims argues that in order to really be the pastor of a church one must stay 7 to 10 years.

            So what does this say to us—as ministers, as church members, as followers of Christ? Be satisfied. I’ll leave you with two thoughts about being satisfied where you are. The first is an old hymn:

 

Satisfied with Jesus

B.B. McKinney

 

I am satisfied with Jesus,

He has done so much for me:

He has suffered to redeem me,

He has died to set me free.

 

 

He is with me in my trials,

Best of friends of all is He;

I can always count on Jesus,

Can He always count on me?

 

 

I can hear the voice of Jesus,

Calling out so pleadingly,

“Go and win the lost and straying;”

Is He satisfied with me?

 

 

When my work on earth is ended,

And I cross the mystic sea,

Oh, that I could hear Him saying,

“I am satisfied with thee.”

 

 

[Refrain]

I am satisfied, I am satisfied,

I am satisfied with Jesus,

But the question comes to me,

As I think of Calvary,

Is my Master satisfied with me?

 

 

            And now the more important thought about satisfaction:

 

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12, NIV)

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