The Church on the Ground Versus the Church In Your Head

I’m over at Southern Seminary Equip today talking about the reality of shepherding. Here is an excerpt:

You envisioned, in your first ministry, leading with the help of a robust elder board, made up of guys who read Calvin, together, on the weekends. You were going to launch a human trafficking ministry in your first year, an apprenticeship program in your second year, and, if all goes well, a church planting initiative in your third.

But the church on the ground seems vastly different than the church in your head. One of your elders wonders why you don’t let the congregation know who you think the antichrist is. The other thinks projecting music on the wall is a slippery slope toward Laodicea. And yet another wants to show Carman’s patriotic video from 1980 on the Sunday before the the Fourth of July. None of your ecclesiology books covered this.

I’m exaggerating these situations . . . but only slightly. The Carman thing really happened to me. The truth is, there is the church in your head, the ideal congregation you envision and there is the church on the ground, the real, flesh-and-blood collection of brothers and sisters you are called to serve.

You can read the whole piece here.

Photo credit: Les Haines
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