Building a Great Church

“Let us build a church so great that those who come after us may think us mad to have attempted it!”
Unknown Christian leader whose words led to the building of the Cathedral of Seville
     Naturally, the definition of “great” is subjective. Different people will have different notions of what “great” looks like. Yet, many members of any church would say they would like for “their” church to be “great.” Some might say that their church has already arrived – that their church is now a great church. I believe that it is safe to say that the unknown leader whose words are quoted above defined “great” as a building of incredible size and beauty.
     Some members of First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach believe that this church has already arrived – that this is a great church. I have heard some mention our “great music program.” Others have pointed to the beautiful Sanctuary. Still others speak with considerable delight about the positive impact the church makes in the community addressing homelessness, hunger and addiction. Each one is right, of course. By each of these measures, First Presbyterian Church is a great church.
     But let’s return to our original notion that “great” is subjective. It all comes down to what any particular person considers “great.” While celebrating what First Presbyterian Church already does well, there remains other areas where “great” is still out in front of us. Each person will have their own list; their own idea of where this church can still achieve greater distinction. Permit me to share my dream list:
*    Increasing numbers of people organizing themselves in small groups for the purposes of intentional spiritual formation.
*    Increasing numbers of people who equip themselves for contagiously reaching others for Jesus Christ and inviting them to full participation in the life and ministry of the church.
*    Increasing numbers of people who chose to give-up the notion that they have “done their duty” to the church but continually look for ways to be in ministry that the church may be more effective.
*    Increasing numbers of people who chose to live with a spirit of financial generosity to the church recognizing that nothing has greater value than the impact of the church upon the world.
     Your list may be different. But I hope that you have a list. It is dangerous not to have a list. The absence of a list suggests that nothing more needs to be done, that God is satisfied with the current ministry. That kind of thinking not only results in smugness and eventual lethargy and death of the church, it is simply not faithful to the Bible. God simply will not rest until every human heart has been fully transformed from thoughts of entitlement and self-interest to the selfless character and generosity of spirit that possessed Christ. 

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