Pastor Kevin Redding
Adult Ministries Pastor, Shiloh Community Church
As we begin this new year, it is common to review the old and anticipate the new. While I’m not one to make resolutions, it doesn’t mean that I don’t reflect on the past or plan for the future. God has made it clear in His Word what we are to pursue as His followers (“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” Matthew 6:33a), and those Godly pursuits help guide us in our planning and our reflection. Having said that, I spent some time thinking about the past year, personally and professionally, and wanted to share one of those thoughts.
Over my almost 25 years of ministry, I have learned some things about people in the church. I was thinking of the various expectations that I have encountered from people over the years and I’ve boiled down those expectations to two different types of people that come to church. There are “home depot” people, and there are “contractor” people. The “home depot” approach says, ‘give me the tools, give me the training how to use those tools, and I’ll go and do the work and enjoy the results…good or bad…easy or hard…and no matter how many trips it takes or how long the process turns out to be. Give me the tools and help me along the way.’ The “contractor” approach says, ‘church, you do the work, you control the cost, you make and clean up the mess, you fix all the problems along the way, I’ll stand to point out all the flaws…big or small, significant or insignificant. When the project is finally complete to my level of satisfaction, I’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor, the benefits from your struggle, your experience and your expertise.’
If you’ve been at Shiloh for any length of time, you recognize that we’re a “home depot” church. We’ll give you the tools to help you grow in your spiritual life. We’ll give you the training to apply those spiritual truths into your everyday life. We’ll give you the ‘how-to seminars’ (if you will) through our Community Groups, Bible Studies, Celebrate Recovery, retreats, and classes. We’ll give you “hands on opportunities” through our outreach events like Love Our Schools Day, The Church has Left the Building, Egg Hunt, Block Parties, Women’s Christmas Outreach, Day of Service and the evangelism class. We will be available for council, advice and guidance. We will do our best to walk alongside and effectively equip you. However, we will also put the responsibility upon you to do the work, make the changes, take responsibility, and walk in obedience to God’s Word.
Going into 2018 and far beyond, the most important thing you need is to surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Unless you’ve done that, none of the other tools matter, and none of the tools we can give you will do you any good. If you want to grow spiritually, it starts with being made new spiritually—which is only done through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For those who have Jesus as their Savior and Lord, we are going to continue to help give you the tools you need to grow spiritually. In a spiritual sense, we will help you go from using a simple hammer and nails to correctly and safely using a pneumatic nail gun. We will help you go from building a spiritual bird house to building a spiritual house on the rock of Jesus Christ that stands strong against the storms of life. Rest assured, we are going to be with you each step of the way…but YOU have to do the hard work. YOU have to be responsible for YOUR spiritual work and YOUR spiritual growth.
You may ask, “Pastor Kevin, what about the ‘one another’ passages?” Great question. The “one anothers” instruct us to live in unity, humility and love with one another. Never in those instructions are we told to “do for one another,” rather to encourage one another to love and good works, while helping one another properly apply the tools we find in the Word of God and in our walk with Christ.
The Pastors are here with you, and we are for you, but YOU are responsible for YOUR walk with Christ, and I am responsible for MINE. Together, we can experience great things in our relationships with Christ when we each strive to properly put the tools that God gives to us. Then, we experience “more serving, more doing” as together we build our parts in the Kingdom of God.