Sunday, October 04, 2009


Concerns about credit have stymied many great works of God. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn't matter who gets the credit.”

We cannot become an organic movement of ministers and ministries "here, there and everywhere" if we are overly concerned about who will get the credit. In fact, I believe that one of the subliminal reasons why church leaders resist the notion of organic ministry is that they intuitively know that they will not be able to take credit for it when it happens. Let me explain, using the illustration of a woman's desire to reach out to elementary-aged girls.

A mom, seeing the challenges that confront young ladies, and feeling a call from God, desires to have a ministry to girls who are the age of her daughter. She discusses this idea with her pastor, looking for coaching and support. Two ideas come up in the conversation: a) that she could start an after-school group in her home, and invite her daughter's friends to come over after school, or b) that she could join the Sunday School as a teacher in that age group. As the conversation unfolds, lurking in the back of the pastor's mind is the desire for credit. If this mom starts a group at her home, will he be able to take credit for it? The answer is, "Not as easily as if she is working in our Sunday School." Will he let this gremlin manipulate the conversation? If so, he will say to this ministry-mom, "I think the best thing for you to do is to plug into our Sunday School."

If you are concerned about credit you will have a preference for ministries that you can see, because ministries that you can see are ones that you can control, and for which you can take credit. This is not empowerment in the truest sense, it is manipulation for the sake of the pastor's ego.

Organic church leader Tony Dale has a slogan that he tries to live by: "No empire building, no control, and no glory." He is careful to build His kingdom, instead of his own. In Isaiah 42:8 God says this: I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another." Dale writes, "For humans, the temptation to take just a little bit of the credit is very strong! But it is an incredible privilege to be a part of a move of God, and we need to remember this and stay humble."

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