“Are we too busy at Immanuel Bible Church?” This is how I opened my presentation time at our last quarterly congregational meeting. It’s a timely question given all of the programs and ministry opportunities kicking off this fall at IBC. There is no doubt; we have a lot going on.
I am acutely aware of the temptation in the church to be overly programmed. Tragically, far too many of us engage in lots of “stuff” in the name of Christ, but miss the Lord of Glory in the process. Like Martha, we miss the one thing necessary (Cf., Luke 10:42). Good programs can, ironically, become spiritual killers.
But even as I want to emphasize the concept of “simple church” at Immanuel (the idea of quality over quantity of ministry activity), I feel a wonderful obligation to provide solid spiritual food to a hungry congregation. I want you to eat–and eat well. And sometimes it takes considering several different kinds of “food” before you find the right sustenance.
What am I trying to say with all of this culinary talk? Simply this: you don’t have to eat everything on the table. In fact, if you do you might get sick.
By God’s grace I long to see a culture develop at Immanuel Bible Church where we feel the freedom to pick the ministry involvement that serves best our growth in grace–without feeling guilty if we don’t participate in everything being offered. For example, for one person being deeply committed to Sunday mornings and a growth group might be the best ministry involvement for this season of life. For another person Sunday mornings, growth group, Bible study, prayer meeting, and local evangelism might define their involvement. Beyond Sundays the combinations of activity are many. The all-important question is, “What kind and amount of activity in my life most maximizes God’s glory and my growth in Christlikeness?” And we ask this question even as we pray like Paul prayed for the Philippians:
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (1:9-11; Cf., James 1:5).
So let’s be busy with the right amount of things. And as we prayerfully discern what to be busy with, please know that not all food on the banquet table is meant to be eaten. Indeed, to do so might make you sick. Sometimes the saying is true–less is more. In other words, God is not necessarily most glorified in the most busy.
[image: a carousel in france. image credit: trey ratcliff @ stuckincustoms.com.]