One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is that I am not in charge. I am not in charge of God’s kingdom, of the local congregation where I preach, or of the individual souls that worship here alongside me.

I am not in charge.

If I could ever get myself to really accept that then it would be a lot easier on my ministry (and on my ticker).

I would still be upset to look around an evening service and see half the number that was there on Sunday morning. I would still look around on a Sunday night and wonder, where did the people who said “see you tonight go?”

I would still look around on a Wednesday night and think “they liked my post on facebook just 30 minutes ago, but they’re not here now. They’re sharing some bloggers ten best tips to lose weight, or some website’s tribute to some guy who can shoot a target with a rifle blindfolded just five minutes before class starts, but they had too much to do to make it here.”

Those sorts of things will always upset me, but right now they upset me because I take it personally. I see it as an indictment on me as a Bible teacher, or a preacher.

I hope some day I get to the point where I can see it, not as a reflection on me, but as a reflection of a heart that isn’t quite where God wants it yet. I will be upset, not because of how it upsets me as a preacher, but because of how it upsets me as a brother in Christ.

And when I get to that point, it will be easier to preach and teach on attendance; not by talking about filling a pew for an extra two hours a week, but by talking about the cross, the joy of salvation, the encouragement that brethren bring, the enrichment that comes from studying the Bible together.

Because I won’t look at it as “What do I need to say to get these people to want to come back to hear this sermon.” I will look at it as “what can I say to help my brethren grow in the faith enough to where ‘coming back to worship the King’ is an automatic.”

I’ve got some of my own growing to do to get there.

I hope I get there soon.