If a Tree Falls Down in the Middle of a Forest…


…with no one around. Was it ever really there?


This is one of the great time wasters of philosophy 101 class. But today a church planter seemed discouraged enough to ask a question that struck me much the same. And this time I did not see it as a waste of time.

“My church is really doing some great things for the Lord, but the church world doesn’t seem to notice, why?”

Wow. Hasn’t that become the sixty-five thousand dollar question of late?

I suppose time alone will reveal whether or not today’s pastors/church planters are too obsessed with numbers and or keeping up with the Jones’—”Pastor Jones” that is. But in the meantime, my heart went out to him because he’s dealing with a very real struggle at least in some ways.

He’s right that there’s an inconsistency.

He’s right about there being a, “Good Ole Boy’s Club.”

Maybe he was even right in assuming he was being ignored for not playing the game, but I also challenged him on at least a few fronts.

  1. At the end of the day, what does it matter what others thought of you if Jesus says, “Well done good and faithful servant?”
  2. There are so many successful churches today that it is quite possible to completely miss some of the ones who are really making inroads for God’s kingdom—Chalk it up to an innocent mistake.
  3. In the end what some might be doing is “self promotion” and we all need to watch out for this. John the Baptist had it right when he said, Jesus must increase but I must decrease.”
  4. Who are the “Great Things” you mentioned really for? And ‘about?’

His head hung low on that last one. I could tell it struck home, but I quickly stepped in. “Hey, you’re not alone. Not by a long shot. I’ve felt the pressure. I’ve had a competitive spirit that was more about me and being successful than for God at times. I’ve had to ask God to forgive me and take up my cross afresh. I’ve even been tempted to see only the bad in some pastors where there is clearly much good.

It’s ugly.

It’s sinful.

It’s embarrassingly human.

But it’s also covered by the blood. If you find yourself in this trap grab the rope attached to the bucket and pull yourself out of the well of frustration. God understands and He forgives.

But don’t crawl back in!