Cleaning House or Redecorating?
Dr. Ray PritchardDr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 43 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, three daughters-in-law--Leah, Vanessa, and Sarah, and seven grandchildren. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
- 2007 May 14
Recently I met someone who is a bit discouraged because his church has gone through several staff changes. Pastors who had been in that church for years have announced that they will soon be moving to other ministries. The person said, “I think God is cleaning house.”
To which I replied, “Perhaps he’s just redecorating his house.”
The difference is small but significant. Think of God’s house as a vast mansion with many rooms. Let each room represent a local church or a ministry organization. Because the Father is the ultimate interior decorator, he knows how to furnish each room for maximum beauty and usefulness.
He knows where each picture should go.
He knows how to arrange the furniture.
He knows what color to paint the walls.
He knows how to match textures and styles.
He knows where to put the sofa and the love seat.
He knows when it needs touching up and when it needs an extreme makeover.
And he can move things between rooms in his mansion because it all belongs to him. Staff pastors are like the furniture in those rooms. Sometimes we fit best in the corner bedroom. Sometimes we do better in the living room. Sometimes we are most useful in the kitchen. Sometimes we belong in the computer room on the second floor.
The great point is that the Father knows exactly what he is doing when he moves the furniture around. It may be that one room will look a bit barren for a while during the redecoration process. That often leads to a lot of discussion about what the room should look like next time. Don’t like that French provincial? Let’s go casual country next time. Maybe a touch of England would do the trick. Or perhaps we should redo the floors while the furniture is out of the room.
Staff members come and go all the time. I remember remarking to a wise business friend many years ago about how hard it is to find the perfect team. Without missing a beat, he replied, “And when you do, you can’t keep it together.” He was right, of course.
Churches need not panic when they lose a children’s pastor or a youth pastor or a director of media arts or a business manager or a senior pastor. The Lord Jesus Christ is both the head of the church and its Master Designer. As he builds his church, he has perfect freedom to rearrange each room for his own purposes. He knows how to make all the pieces fit together, and because he alone has the blueprints, he constantly does things that surprise us.
When staff members leave for service in other places, we need not
think that the Lord is cleaning house. More often he is simply
redecorating the room so that it will be more beautiful and useful than
it was before.