"What results does God desire for the Church of the Nazarene?"
This was Bruce Wilkinson's opening question for the Board of General Superintendents a few years ago. He pressed us, "Do not tell me that God wants people to be transformed and churches to reproduce. Tell me how many. Are you satisfied with what you have now?" We confessed that we were not satisfied and proceeded to write down some visionary, qualitative, and quantitative decadal faith projections for the Church of the Nazarene.
A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king. . . . So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. "Put this money to work . . . until I come back." . . . He was made king, . . . and returned home. Then he sent for the servants. . . . The first one came and said, "Sir, your mina has earned ten more." "Well done, my good servant! . . . Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities."
The second came and said, "Sir, your mina has earned five more." His master answered, "You take charge of five cities." Then another servant came and said, "Sir, here is your mina| I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man." . . . His master replied, "I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! . . . Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?" Then he said to those standing by, "Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas" (Luke 19:12-24).
We will give the Lord an accounting for how we "work" with our "minas."
Bruce shocked us, "Faithfulness is not enough! This faithful servant did not lose, waste, or gamble the mina. He faithfully kept it for the master's return."
I remembered my comments to ministry colleagues, "Just be faithful. That is all the Father asks." What if, however, we faithfully use ineffective methods? True faithfulness includes fruitfulness.
Being a guardian of traditional functions is not enough. "You general superintendents must do more than fulfill your role. You must do whatever is necessary to see the results you know God desires."
God wants more than faithfulness-God wants fruit.
God wants more than role fulfillment-God wants results.
"You general superintendents are doing the wrong things."
We sat in stunned silence. Bruce repeated his indictment. Finally, General Superintendent Jim Diehl almost came out of his seat. "What am I doing wrong? I am working so hard!"
Wilkinson smiled, "I do not fully know what you do. I just know that it is not working! If you continue doing what you have been doing, you will have the same results-and you just told me that they are not satisfactory."
I will never forget the ensuing time of prayer on our knees as we wept and asked the Father to forgive us for accepting the "status quo" of role faithfulness rather than fruitful results.
Leaders must confront obstacles and take responsibility for results. It is easier to faithfully fulfill a customary role, even if we are not seeing the results God desires. However, when we move from our comfort zones to obedience zones we feel fearful, and Satan tells us to get "back in the box." Three times "the LORD said to Joshua, 'Do not be afraid| do not be discouraged'" (Joshua 8:1, 10:8, 11:6). Our fear testifies of our radical willingness to attempt great things for God.
We are tempted to place on God the full responsibility for results. God does give the increase, but we must plant and water the seedlings. What are the results the Lord desires to see in our lives and churches? We will humbly take responsibility for results.
Holiness Today, May/June 2011