Just get on with it

Paul Levy
A friend of mine once came to our congregation and, because of the name 'International Presbyterian Church' and the links with Schaeffer and L'Abri, expected us to be a large church. I also think, because of my ability to exaggerate, he expected there to be a bursting, vibrant congregation. At the time we were meeting on Sunday nights in the church lounge. There were at a max 40 people there, the music wasn't that great, I didn't preach very well, the service sheet had lots of spelling mistakes in it and I remember the look on his face as he came in during the second hymn. He didn't have to say it but you could tell he was thinking 'Levy, is this it?'
Now on one level I remember being very put out by my friend's attitude and yet, on another level, he had a real point. We were well known as a congregation, people knew of me from different things and yet at home we were tiny. Big reputation outside but small inside. God has been kind and we've grown but we're hardly a medium sized church let alone a large one and I am more and more convinced that we need to be busy in the work of the local church and stuff the reputation. Just get stuck in, don't build a brand, refuse as many bookings as you can, avoid conferences unless you feel you really need to go, be wary of unnecessary committees, don't be dependent on outside funding to keep your plates spinning, don't try to start a movement when there is no movement, do your study, visit, 121's, teach the children and young people, preach lots and just get on with it. Keep your head, discharge the duties of your ministry.
It's interesting in the UK you now have people that travel round the world telling us all how to do church, whether it's house church or church to the poor and that we're all too posh and yet, whether they are actually doing the business at home is, I think, pretty debateable. There are some remarkable PR merchants out there in Conservative Evangelicalism and we are the suckers for buying into it. We are not fund raisers, we're not movement leaders, most of us are just pastors and so get on with the work of pastoring.
I'm convinced that, if we put as much effort into our local churches as we do into conferences, videos, special meetings, movements, blogs, and ministries, the church in the UK would be a whole lot stronger.