Every few weeks, I like to share my heart about the ministry of The River. Often, in this consumer-oriented world that we live in, we start treating the church the same way that we do a restaurant or business. If something isn’t to our liking we just don’t go back. For those believers who are interested in the will of God, it doesn’t work that way! If God sent you to a church and He planted you there, it wasn’t because He made sure ahead of time that they would only sing your favorite songs. Do you remember the church in the wilderness? They had God’s direct guidance – a cloud by day and a fire by night. They had bread from heaven every day. But do you know where their focus was? On what they didn’t like!
Numbers 11: Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched. 3 So he called the name of the place Taberah, because the fire of the Lord had burned among them.
4 Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”
Their focus should have been on the great deliverance that God gave them and the promises of a land that flowed with milk and honey. But that generation died in the wilderness because of their unthankful, complaining attitude. I Corinthians 10:10 tells us to not be complainers like the children of Israel.
As The River grows, all different types of ministries are emerging. Praise & Worship ministry and Children’s ministry are growing. Unfortunately, along with that comes growing pains. You simply cannot please everyone. Using the Praise and Worship as an example, we recently were blessed to have live music in the services. God sent us a young man who loves the Lord and wants to use his talents to glorify God. He is very talented, but more importantly, he has a humble spirit. I have been busy being thankful to God for blessing us with this music ministry and I haven’t paid as much attention to the technical aspects with the sound system. It was brought to my attention that it is a little loud. I was receptive of that feedback and am trying to get the sound adjusted, which is a challenge with the acoustics of our building. But if I ask five people about it, I get five different answers. So I have ordered a decibel meter and will approach the problem a little more scientifically to get it corrected.
Bringing it to my attention is the right approach. Complaining about it within the body is the wrong approach. When someone does that, they become part of the problem and not part of the solution. If we are going to be a New Testament church at The River, we are going to have to do things the right way and not be consumer-minded Christians. I want feedback on these types of things. On our guest cards, we ask what can The River do better because we want to always be improving and to have a ministry of excellence.
As we grow, we will continue to have growing pains, but let’s not let these challenges get us into discord. That is the enemies’ tactic to prevent a great move of God. As the shepherd over this flock, I refuse to allow that type of behavior doom us to the wilderness. No one is being defensive and drawing lines in the sand about these types of things. Let’s work together and make things the best that they can be. If you have ideas or suggestions, let’s sit down and talk about them. You may be right and I may have missed it. None of us are as smart as all of us. But let’s get the mind of God in how we approach these situations and seek the Lord together.