Don't Compare Your Church To Another

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Don’t Compare Your Backstage to Another Church’s Front Stage

I was not the star of the play in 9th grade but I was IN the play. Yes, that’s right. Arsenic and Old Lace had a wonderful character, as small a part as he was, Officer Brophy. Sad to say I don’t remember much of the play. I do remember all the preparation and memorization. Fortunately Officer Brophy didn’t say much.

If you’ve ever been in a production you know a lot of work goes into what shows on stage when the curtain goes up. You also know the hours immediately before are frequently chaotic. Even into those last few moments, directors, coordinators, stars and small bit players often scramble around. They want to make sure it will all work, it is all in order, and the play goes off without a hitch. Frequently, backstage is not pretty. Chaos – yes, that’s a good word for it!

However, when it’s show time, it works – or at least that’s the plan. On the front stage it all looks grand but backstage, well, that’s another story.

(NOTE: Does your ministry & life feel out of balance? Click here to learn how to create the appropriate margin for long-term ministry effectiveness.)

Create ministry margin & balance ministry life for pastors

So what does this have to do with ministry?

When you look around at other pastors, church leaders, and churches you generally see the front stage. You see the end product. You hear the stories of all the strategic thinking and planning that make for a great church – all the front stage stuff. Nobody is hiding anything, it’s just that we listen to the journey and see the end result, the front stage.

Seldom do you hear of the messy backstage. The players and directors of the drama don’t get up in the second act and say, “Come on back! We are going to do the play with the props in the wrong place and us saying our messed up lines for the umpteenth time.”

When you talk with others about what works and what doesn’t work in their setting, you hear most generally about the front stage. There may be some that show you glimpses of the backstage but it always point to the front stage.

The tough part is you know your backstage very, very well. And you know it’s a mess. Take heart! All backstages are a mess. Here are four considerations if you’re dissatisfied with your church’s backstage.

  1. Pray for perspective and discernment. Church is not just an A+B+C = Healthy Church formula. It is vital that you spend time in the presence of the Lord asking Him for guidance to know how to take your church’s “messy backstage” and make it presentable to those far from God, those who need to hear of His love for them.
  2. Acknowledge that everyone has a backstage. Yes, everyone, every church has messes “behind the curtain.” Yes, we can all learn from the messes of others, but we best not ignore the fact that their messes do exist. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that just because a church has it all together up front means they have nothing “not together” behind the scenes.
  3. Recognize a messy backstage does not mean you’re an inadequate pastor. This is the deception of the enemy when he tries to derail your plans to make the church better. Everybody has a backstage and none of them are pretty. In fact, I can argue if you don’t have a messy backstage you’re not doing enough to mess it up!
  4. Avoid comparing your backstage to another church’s front stage. While healthy comparisons can bring some perspective, unhealthy comparisons do nothing to move the ball down the field. Compare back stages to back stages; not back stages to front stages. As you consider what the Lord wants to do in your church and He directs you to others who’ve journeyed ahead of you, look at everything; front stage, backstage and everything in between. Then compare apples to apples.

At the end of the day I encourage you to acknowledge who directs the affairs of your church. No church is perfect. All are striving to be all He wants them to be. Getting to the point of providing good ministry to everyone who attends your church is a spiritual journey. It requires spiritual leadership. It requires a leader who is so committed to seek His plan for the church that the leader is willing to talk to others, examine their front stage and understand it was not all a bed of roses to get there.

The church you serve is too good of a church to allow the comparisons of others’ front stages to your backstage to derail your efforts. Plow through your backstage on the way to presenting a great front stage that ministers to the people God has entrusted to you. It’s worth the journey. I look forward to seeing the end result on your front stage of ministry to people!

(NOTE: Does your ministry & life feel out of balance? Click here to learn how to create the appropriate margin for long-term ministry effectiveness.)

Create ministry margin & balance ministry life for pastors


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