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You don’t need the perfect church, LifeWay’s Gene Mims reminds pastors


RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–Gene Mims said he spent too much time trying to build the perfect church. What he didn’t realize was that God was trying to build a man.

“I was a frustrated, unhappy pastor,” Mims said. “Part of the frustration was I didn’t want the church I had. I didn’t want a church that was a slave to the calendar. I didn’t want a church with a swimming pool. I wanted the perfect church.”

Mims, vice president of the church resources division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, shared his experiences June 30-July 4 during LifeWay’s Leading in the Kingdom-Focused Week at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.

He said he knew many of the pastors attending the conference were just like he was, frustrated and unhappy in their churches.

“It’s not that I didn’t understand the task,” he said. “I had the skills. What I didn’t understand was what God wanted from me as a person.”

He said he lost sight of the fact that God was trying to build him up as a man and a pastor. “I came to understand that there is no perfect church because there is no perfect pastor.”

Defining the church as the agency God uses to advance His Kingdom, Mims said the church is where the Kingdom meets the world.

“Your goal as pastor is to see every person engaged in ministry,” he said. “And this may not necessarily be in your church, your Sunday School or on your softball team. That is a Kingdom focus — when it’s not just about me and my church.”

He asked the pastors, “How do you do work? If you’re working hard to do enough to please God, you’ll never do it. You can lose yourself in programs, training, methodology and even in preaching. What we need to do is look at Christ and see how God works.”

How did Jesus work? Mims voiced several observations:

— “Jesus never did anything or went anywhere that God didn’t send Him. Do you think Jesus carried a Day-Timer or a PDA? Need does not constitute a call. Jesus didn’t heal everyone or go everywhere. He just did what God sent Him to do.”

— “Jesus never initiated anything on His own. He just did what God initiated. He did what He saw the Father doing. Don’t do anything on your own strength.”

— “Jesus said only what He was commanded by and told to by the Father. Too often when we deliver a sermon, it’s nothing more than a well-researched book report. It’s not what God has told us to do.”

“The only church you can serve and change and minister to is the one you’re in now,” Mims said. “THE church is the one you’re in now. You don’t need the perfect church, you just need the church where God has appointed you.”
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(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: KINGDOM INSIGHT, A KINGDOM LOOK, and LEADING IN THE KINGDOM FOCUSED CHURCH.

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  • Polly House