Napoleon once pointed to a map of China and said, “There lies a sleeping giant. If it ever wakes up, it will be unstoppable.” Today the American church is a sleeping giant. Each Sunday, church pews are filled with members who are doing nothing with their faith except “keeping” it.
The designation “active” member in most churches simply means those who attend regularly and financially support the church. Not much more is expected. But God has far greater expectations for every Christian. He expects every Christian to use their gifts and talents in ministry. If we can ever awaken and unleash the massive talent, resources, creativity and energy found in the typical local church, Christianity will explode with growth at an unprecedented rate.
I believe that the greatest need in evangelical churches is the release of members for ministry. One of the key challenges facing a pastor is positioning his church as a creative place that needs the expression of all sorts of talents and abilities, not just singers, ushers and Sunday school teachers. And one of the reasons enthusiasm is so low in many churches is that creativity is discouraged. Great ideas are shot down with, “We’ve tried that before.”
I’m very hesitant to tell people a ministry idea won’t work. I like to be surprised. When somebody comes to me with a ministry idea, I try to always make my initial response, “Why not?” I may have seen the idea bomb three times before, but I’m not going to be a dream-buster. This person may be just the right person to pull it off.
Sometimes a person will have a great idea for ministry but personally doesn’t have the leadership skills to pull it off. In that case, it’s important to pray that God will raise up a leader who can take the ball and run with it. But if you spend all your time telling people what won’t work, they’ll eventually stop trying altogether.