The Frustration of Missing Pieces

July 20, 2010

Tuesday Re-mix

One of my “go away and do nothing” places is the beach near Port Aransas, Texas.  My in-laws own a condo down there and it has been my family’s tradition to go down there for a few days every Fall after the vacation season is over and it’s not quite so crowded.  The agenda for those few days is pretty simple: do nothing.  We go to the beach and do nothing, or we go to the pool and do nothing, or we sit in the room and do nothing.  It is wonderful.

Among the “nothingness” we do, there is always a jigsaw puzzle sitting on the coffee table, waiting to be put together.  We rarely get it all put together, but nobody seems to mind.  It is just something kind of mindless to do while we are doing nothing.  One of the challenges to putting together a puzzle is when there are missing pieces.  You don’t actually know there are missing pieces unless you get all the other pieces in place.  Otherwise, you just figure this one critical piece you’ve been looking for is just mixed in somewhere with all the other pieces.  It can be frustrating.

That can be frustrating in the church as well.  We cannot seem to find peace about this decision or that decision, we cannot seem to be in consensus about what God wants for us because we still do not have the entire picture.  There are pieces missing to the puzzle…people not here.  We may not even know there are missing pieces, but there are.

Actually, in most of our churches, we do know there are missing pieces.  Very few churches in America get more than 50%-60% involvement from their membership.  We may have 1000 names on our roles, but only 500 active members.  And if we have 500 active members, we probably only have 300 there on a given Sunday.  Ever try to put a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle together with only 300 pieces?  Now THAT’s frustrating.

If we really believe that the Spirit of God Himself indwells every believer and if we really believe that discerning His will together means bringing all of us to the table to allow Him to speak collectively through that process, then what is it that makes us grow content with putting puzzles together with only half the pieces?  Why would we ever expect to have a clear sense of what God is doing among us when we knowingly permit half our people to wander away from the exercise?

Churches who are serious about understanding God’s will for them are not only focused on growth through evangelism, but they are equally focused on finding those whom God brought to us in the first place and who now have, for whatever reasons, fallen through the cracks and disappeared from our radar screens.  Find your people, engage them in the process, and watch how clearly the puzzle of God’s will comes together for your body of believers!

© Blake Coffee

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