Not until the solder had dripped from the iron and singed my forearm—for the third time that night—did I discover a newfound appreciation for plumbers, electricians, framers and anyone else even remotely associated with the construction industry. I was soldering the copper pipes in what would eventually become our basement bathroom, and in the maze of two-by-four studs and tools strewn across the 800-square-foot floor, I had quickly lost my patience for a joint that would not meld.
The joint, of course, was eventually completed. So was the basement after months of late nights and long weekends, several bouts with the city's building inspectors, and probably hundreds of trips to Home Depot and Lowe's (they still owe me). Because I'd tackled virtually every facet of the construction process—from design to electrical to drywall—the addition to our house became one of the proudest accomplishments of my life so far.
I imagine those working in construction get a similar feeling whenever they drive by a project they helped complete. My hands had a part in creating that lasting structure. My abilities played a significant role in making that building stand and operate.
At some point, you've probably felt the same about your church. Not necessarily the physical structure your congregation meets in, but the scaffolding of lives that comes together to form the body of Christ. As a pastor or church leader, you play a vital role in your church's formation, in the strength of its structure and in fulfilling the vision for which it was formed. In fact, many pastors thrive as they become the church architect, construction manager, bricklayer, framer, interior designer, etc.—all on a weekly basis.
The problem, however, lies less in the multi-tasking than in the building. The first part of Psalm 127:1 is a familiar yet profound Scripture: "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it."
Pastors are skilled at building people, ministries, sermons and staffs. We're naturally good at making something out of nothing—which, when you think about it, is an impressive skill. Architects dream something out of nothing. Builders construct something out of nothing.
We are neither when it comes to the house of God. When we neglect the blueprints of Scripture and treat the church as our own building project, we're asking for trouble. We may be confident in our own God-given skills, but we can never forget the foundational truth of Psalm 127:1: God builds; we labor. It's as simple as that. Christ told Peter that upon him He would build His church—not vice versa (see Matt. 16:18).
What happens when we switch these around? We labor in vain. And the houses of worship we build, although immaculate and impressive on the outside, are foundationally unsound, destined to crumble someday.
This may seem an awkward warning to offer in an issue celebrating innovative church buildings (see p. 40). And yet I can't help but see these beautiful, creative and functional expressions of God's gifting as physical reminders of a spiritual truth that every successful pastor holds close to his heart. The Lord builds His house. We are the workers, the laborers, the servants. We are not the architects or builders. God help us when we forget this.
Marcus Yoars is the editor of Ministry Today.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. Enroll in the FREE Mini-Course to experience Dr. Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.
NICL Training offered in FL, TX and GA - Learn everything you wish someone had taught you about business and ministry before you finished seminary. Gain the knowledge that will help propel your life and ministry to the next level as you implement practical lessons from Dr. Rutland's training. Training Dates and Details.
The NICL Online is a brand new option for those church and ministry leaders who cannot attend the in-person training. Now, you can receive all 60-hours of Dr. Rutland's training from the comfort of your home or ministry for a full year. Learn more about NICL Online.