content: adjective, in a state of peaceful happiness : he seemed more content, less bitter. • satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc., and not wishing for more : he had to be content with third place | the duke was content to act as Regent.
complacent: adjective, showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements : you can’t afford to be complacent about security.
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” – Paul (I Tim. 6:4)
God wants you to be content with the size of your church without becoming complacent in regards to discipleship and evangelism. I realize this is not an easy balance to achieve but it is one we must move towards.
Would you describe your current attitude in regards to the size of your church as “a state of peaceful happiness?” Could you say you are, “satisfied with a certain level of achievement, not wishing for more?” Remember, we’re talking about the size of your church, not how well it’s doing in reaching the lost, feeding the poor, making serious followers of Christ, etc. Are you content in being the pastor of a small church? Can you embrace contentedness without becoming complacent about all the other things the church is suppose to be and do? I hope so. But I also know from personal experience how hard it is to be content with a smaller congregation.
Is it just me or does it seem like much of what pastors are exposed to in the church-related books they read, the conferences they go to, ministerial meetings they attend end up making them feel more discontent than content?
There still exists in much of “Churchianity” far too much emphasis upon numbers and church growth. I’m not against numbers or church growth, but I am against anything that makes pastors feel like they don’t measure up, like they are unappreciated, unnoticed, like they don’t count solely because their church is small.
Certainly it would be wrong to become complacent about discipleship and bringing the name of Jesus to the lost, but could it be just as wrong to not be content?
My dear friend, pursue contentedness without becoming complacent. Reject those things that make you feel bad about yourself or the size of your church. Ask the Father to give you contentedness without complacency. Either contentedness is great gain, as Paul says, or it’s not. I choose to believe Paul.
What are your thoughts?
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