- Jim Townsley
- Oct 4, 2012
It is a sad reality that no matter how hard you try there are some people you will not be able to help. Only one of the four instances of the seed sown in Matthew chapter thirteen produced fruit. Though appointed directed by Christ one of the twelve disciples was filled with the devil. Solomon's son Reheboham did not heed the wisdom of his own father. The Scripture warns us to be on our guard of certain people when it states, "Of such turn away." Not all believers remain faithful. John Mark is an example of one who turned back. A certain ruler in Luke chapter eighteen was sorrowful because he didn't want to give up his riches. Only one of the healed lepers came back to thank Jesus for healing his leprosy. In addition, Paul preached at Mars Hill in Athens, Greece with no one being converted. The reality of the ministry is that not all people will follow your teaching, preaching, and advice. Some will plainly reject the truth and others will turn away from the truth.
As a young preacher I thought I could help everyone. I knew I had the truth and I believed I possessed some communication skills and as a result I was confident I would help everyone I met and everyone I met would respond positively to my ministry. After only a few months I had to accept the fact that I could not help everyone. There were people who turned away from Christ and would not accept the Lord's help. Not everyone responded positively to the ministry of Jesus Christ. If Jesus could not help everyone who was I to think I could help everyone. Nevertheless, I had to face this reality and recognize there were some people who would not respond to my leadership and counsel. This was a sad day of enlightenment but it helped me to understand my limitations and the reality of the ministry.
A young preacher must keep in mind that not everyone is open to follow the clear teaching of the Word of God. When members from a neighboring church visit your church, remember they are not happy with their church and the problem most often is with them and not their pastor or church. Frequently people leave a church because they do not want to follow the Bible. If people speak badly of a prior ministry, eventually they will probably speak badly about your ministry. Every visitor should be welcomed in a new church, but it is important to cautiously monitor visitors from other ministries. Quite often these people bring their problems with them. At first they seem solid and their tale of woe often is related to inadequacies of their former pastor or leaders in their old church. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for people to leave a church and look for another, but most often their behavior is unjustified. Preparing a proper protocol of dealing with visitors from another church is important. As a general rule if someone visits a two times it may warrant a call to their pastor or former pastor. Usually a whole new perspective is given by the former pastor. I encourage new church planters to initially meet with neighboring ministries and make clear the biblical protocol of dealing with the issues of church hopping and transferring from one church to another. Maintaining a good rapport with neighboring pastors is more important than receiving a disgruntled member into your church family.
An addition potential problem is if several people come from a single ministry your church could take on the spirit of these folks. If their spirit is not right it could eventually create a split in your church. Also, these new folks could dominate the new church and influence the church's vision for the future. Receiving one member upon the recommendation of the former pastor is much safer and far different from receiving several members from a near-by ministry without the blessing of the former pastor. If people will not follow the counsel they receive it is impossible for anyone to help them.
Someone has said that, "the ministry would be fine except for the people." But the ministry is the people and working with various kinds of people is an important aspect of church planting. As much as you try you will never be able to help some people. It is best to leave some people alone and go on to those who will respond.