What Is Important To You?

by pastortimfowler

Here is my first blog of 2012. What is important to you?
I have a friend who pastors a church in the Philippines and although I have only met him personally once, he has an amazing impact on me and my ministry. When we first met nine years ago, I had just been called to pastor a dying church in Rock Hill and he had just started a church in his home town in the Philippine Islands. He was trying to raise money for his ministry and I was trying to find hope in a church that had decided to turn inward and reject the people who lived all around.
Our church had a million dollar building bought and paid for, that included a full kitchen, class rooms, bathrooms, a 400 seat auditorium, and, despite being located in a part of town that was known for its crime and poverty, we have the full support of the police and government. His church was meeting in a graveyard because it was safer than anywhere in town. They had no classrooms, no running water, and if they were caught, they could be killed because of some of the terrorist groups that inhabit the islands and a government and police force that does not have the means to protect them.
Today, I pastor a church that has closed the original church, sold the building, and relocated. We have grown from a group of about 30 to a group of 150 and we have a different building with all the amenities of the previous building. It has been a challenge and a joy to see the change, and despite what I think as challenges, they pale in comparison to my friend’s nine years at his church.
They finally got a building, we would call it a roof over some chairs. They have grown numerically as well and I am sorry to say that I don’t have the numbers to report. They still don’t have it as nice as we do and probably never will, but they continue to grow and worship, despite the unending threats. Last night we talked and he told me that his health was a challenge due to diabetes and they are praying for the finances to be able to by a vehicle to transport people who live too far to walk to church.
In our conversation he told me that God was bigger that health or wealth problems. He said that God has never let him down and had always given them more than they deserved. He was optimistic and hopeful for the new year and knew that God would provide for their needs and allow them to continue to grow and prosper.
If our churches in America were in the same predicament as his, they would close and people would abandon their “faith”. I have seen people leave the church because they did not get their way in choice of color of carpet. I have seen people leave the church because the music was too loud, too slow, too new, or too old. I have seen people complain because there was not enough parking to keep them from having to walk too far in a parking lot. I have seen people complain about not having a playground or not having the temperature of the heat or AC set to their liking. I have heard complaints about my sermons being too long, too topical, too much about money or too much about a particular sin. I have had people refuse to be baptized because the water was too cold and refuse to become members because the church did not have a softball team.
My friend baptizes in a muddy river, has no AC, no parking lot and few vehicles to get people there. They have no carpet, no video system, and no playground. They complain about having to leave too soon if the pastor doesn’t preach and teach long enough. They risk physical harm and even death and still they join the church. They bring their friends and family and then they bring others. They believe that what they have is a blessing and they receive anything more with utter amazement that God would show them such grace. They think the most important thing that they have is their salvation from Jesus Christ. Because of this they make their church and their ministry about reaching lost people and not comforting themselves. They believe that God has and will supply all of their needs and because of that, they make the most important thing in their lives, God.
What is important to you?

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One Comment to “What Is Important To You?”

  1. Preach it my brother, a prophetic voice and a word for Now… God has become a tool for ministry, and ministry a platform for man. The Lord reminds me I’m his slave and not the other way around. The old fashioned cross, lay it all down, sacrifice and yes “God” has gone out of the preaching of today’s modern pulpit. to answer your question whats important to you? My passion is telling others about the one name of the one God, another issue the church struggles with.

    Keep blogging and have a fab 2012
    Paul

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