Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Geoff-SurrattI wonder how long I could be successful in ministry without God? I’ve been in vocational ministry for 31 years, and I seldom encounter a situation I haven’t seen before. I have a stockpile of sermons to pull from and many other places where I can grab a complete sermon with a moment's notice.

I do strategy, staffing and structure in my sleep. My experience, connections and the Internet give me all the tools I need to do ministry and do it at a very high level. God is good but often not all that necessary.

How about you? How long could your church function, and function well, without God? You have your sermons planned through Easter, your song lists are loaded into Planning Center, and your small group resources are online. You have well-trained volunteers and the best staff money can buy.

Your IT and weekend tech have redundancies built in to handle any contingency. The people who attend your church know they will have a quality experience every weekend regardless of what might happen behind the scenes. Certainly God is welcome at your church, but is He really necessary?

Israel created an elaborate and efficient church that ran very well without God. The priests and Levites excelled at their roles, the sacrificial system was geared to handle the crowds at Passover efficiently, and the Jewish people knew their needs were met with consistency and care. Four hundred years after God stepped away, the Jews no longer missed Him. They had created a church without God.

And then one weekend, He showed up. He ignored their service rundown, He tore up their resource table, and He violated their policies and procedures. Every time He came to a service, havoc ensued. Finally they had to either completely change the way they did church or kill God. They chose to kill God.

I am all for policies, procedures, strategy, training, planning and technology. If fact, except for policies and procedures, these are the things I love the most. And I am amazed to see how effectively churches use these tools to reach people far from God and lead them into biblical discipleship.

What scares me—shakes me to my core—however, is how easily we can substitute the tools of worship for genuine worship. How often we find ourselves worshipping the creation rather than the Creator. How many weekends we leave church feeling satisfied because the music was good, the sermon was well received and the attendance was up without even considering if God was pleased.

How long has it been since I have been on my face before God, desperate to hear from Him, knowing that I am absolutely toast without Him. When was the last time I was so hungry to experience the power and presence of God that I could not eat and I could not sleep until I felt the supernatural touch of His Holy Spirit? When was the last time I was so overwhelmed by the responsibility of preaching the Word that I could barely breathe?

It is not all that hard to build a ministry without God. But that would be a terrifying state in which to exist.

Geoff Surratt is the pastor of church-planting at Southeast Christian Church in Parker, Colo. For the original article, visit

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Order Life in the Spirit to actively grow your ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. Your congregation will stay saturated in God's Word, learn to hear His voice, understand their purpose and calling and move into an active role in your ministry.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Jentezen Franklin encourages church leaders to encourage their flocks to vote their values.

    Why We Must Count the Cost—and Vote

    There is a propaganda war that is raging in this country, and it is full of manipulation, lies, ...

  • Have you ever had a cringe moment during your church announcements?

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Church Announcements

    Sometimes they just miss the mark, albeit unintentionally.

  • Peace is indeed attainable in this selfish world. Just look for it in the right place.

    Finding Peace in a Fallen and Selfish World

    You can have peace in this world. Just stop looking in the wrong places.

  • Praying for leaders

    Failing to Do This Can Spell Disaster for the Church

    And it has the potential to destroy many lives.

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Why did you choose the church you attend?

    7 Key Reasons People Choose a Church

    The real issue is not the intrigue of this research; it is what you and your church will do about ...

  • Church members argue

    12 Reasons Church Staff Conflict May Arise

    This is not unique, but among these there are some that seem more pervasive than others.

  • Prestonwood Church in Dallas

    What Leaders Can Learn From Prestonwood's Jack Graham

    Leaders don't have to know everything, but they need to give their staff what Graham gives his.

  • Some of these reasons for leaving the church are simply not plausible.

    7 Reasons People Leave Their Church During Crisis Times

    Some of the excuses are pretty extreme and, quite frankly, lazy.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders