A really interesting story emerged in India over the past several days as over 600 million people there lost power. Critics are blaming the power outage on poor infrastructure and an over worked power grid. This incident has given more ammunition to those who claim that the government has not the necessary resources into the Indian infrastructure and they are unable to keep up with their efforts of expansive growth.
Whenever I read a story like this, the first question I always ask is – What can the church learn from this? When corporations, governments or even individuals fail, I am always searching for the important insights that can be applied to the church. There is no doubt that The Church will prevail because of Christ our Lord. But, plenty of churches fail all the time because of poor leadership, loss of mission, self focus, and a multitude of other traps.
Here in the case of India we tap into a really big trap for the church. The trap is allowing our hunger for growth to outpace our efforts at building a solid infrastructure. For the church everything about our infrastructure is about discipleship. This is an easy trap for us to fall into. Our passion to reach people outpaces our patience for building an infrastructure capable of sustaining and multiplying our growth.
Gathering a crowd can be quick and easy. Building a team of disciples capable of discipling others is slow and painstaking.
As a pastor the trap is to do it yourself. I can put worship services together quickly. I can control the preaching and message of our church. I can do the discipling. I will see quicker results if I do it myself. But long term this will lead to a ministry centered around me and my eventual burnout. Leading others to participate in and add their voice to the leadership of the church, training and equipping others to lead and disciples, making sure that everything that takes place is not built on the force of my personality, now that takes a long time and it isn’t always very fun.
However, it does avoid huge power outages when the pastor has a meltdown, the pastor leaves, or the pastor makes a bad decision. There are lessons for us to learn everywhere.