Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Style or Substance?

  • Jim Townsley
  • Jul 16, 2019

 While the newest generation of full time servants are the most educated and culturally diverse people of any generation before them, they're style of ministry is different from previous generations. They’re looking for more flexibility and a more relaxed atmosphere than their predecessors. Motivating them to serve the Lord requires an understanding of their thinking. Although there are some aspects of this newest generation that are preferable to the past generations, one thing that is critical and many times missing is their inability to see the bottom line. To these young servants style sometimes is more important than substance.

It is essential that every preacher of the gospel understand that results are important! Accomplishment is the bottom line. Getting things done is what we are to do. Methods provide a way to get results, but the means is not an end in itself. Ideas and style are important but they do not always result in substance and accomplishment. The bottom line means that we start and build a church. That means people are getting saved and the attendance is growing. Results will not always be the same in every ministry but the salvation of souls and building a church should be our goal.

I have known men who spent too much time planning and not enough doing. Planning is good and necessary but at some point the job must get done. The latest technology may be interesting but it must not distract you from being productive. While some church planters have struggled building a church they continually discuss and write about their failed ideas. Writing or blogging is not the same as doing and building. Ideas must be followed by results.

Church planting and church building are not things you merely read about or study. They are what you do as a preacher of the gospel. The formula for success is simple. You must visit people in their home or at work and at every opportunity you are provided. The ministry is not an eight hour a day, five days a week job. The ministry involves hard work and sacrifice. Technology is no substitute for face to face contact. Blogging and texting may have its place in our society but these tools will never take the place of personal contact. Style is meaningless if souls are not saved and a church is not built.

The secular culture of the day that emphasizes self-esteem, belongingness and personal flexibility must be avoided. Open communication, innovation and flexibility may be fine in a secular workplace but the ministry is not always fun and relaxed. When rescuing the perishing it may cost you time and money. When the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon she was overwhelmed at God’s blessing to him. “And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.” - - 1 Kings 10:4-5.  Is there substance to your ministry? The bottom line is still important.

When we stand before God at the judgement seat of Christ He will not be impressed by our style but by our substance.  Our accomplishments are dependent upon God but our compliance to His work and will is the vehicle that produces fruit. We must not trifle with the details but set our sights upon the goal of accomplishing something for the Lord. I have watched some men do things in unorthodox ways which have been very successful. I wouldn’t have done it their way but I have to admit that they got the job done. It doesn’t have to been fancy or modern. If the job gets done, that is the bottom line.