June 29, 2009

Looking Aheadto July 5, 2009 -- 5th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • 2 Corinthians 12:2-10
  • Psalm 123 (VU p.847)
  • Mark 6:1-13
The Hymns this week are:
  • #409 Morning Has Broken
  • #509 I, the Lord of Sea and Sky
  • #512 Lord, You Give the Great Commission (vss 1, 2, 5)
  • #646 We Are Marching in the Light of God
The Sermon title is Knowing When to Quit…

Early Thoughts: When is it time to try something else? When do you stop pounding on the wall and look for a door somewhere else?

The way he has been doing wasn't working. And now the people of his hometown are becoming openly hostile. What is Jesus to do?

If Jesus operated the same way that the church tends to operate he would establish a study group to investigate what needs to be done. And he would have focus groups. And he would get all sorts of ideas about how to keep doing the same thing "better". But in the end he would keep doing the same thing and lamenting the lack of a different result.

But Jesus knows that it is time to quit. It is time to do a different thing, to reach out in a new way, to build the community in new directions. And even as he sends out the disciples he tells them that they need to know when it is time to quit. The secret to ministry is remaining aware of what is happening around you. In fact, Jesus learns that trying to minister among those who are hostile is totally ineffective.

There is a lesson here for the church. It has been suggested that to keep doing the same thing and expect different results is a sign of insanity. It is known that the only thing that is nice about hitting your head against a brick wall is the feeling of relief one gets when you stop. Does the church know when to quit, when to try a new way, when to say enough? It is hard because who wants to walk away from a beloved ministry? It is hard because we don't want to fall prey to every trendy little "new thing" that comes floating by.

But sometimes we need to know when to quit.


  1. Your words... bring me to tears. It is time for me to quit... because the church I serve has no desire to keep beating its head against the same wall that they have since they were first gathered... the wall of the pastor works for us... and we aren't willing to work for God. I kept hoping that there were folks in the congregation who would calmly say... let's really try something new... but they have lost their voices in the turmoil of those crying out in the scandal of change... discipleship... and accountability to God.

    Gord... thank you for being one of few... who have given me permission to know when to quit... and find a new way.

  2. Thank you so much for giving my frustration a voice. I resigned my pastorship back in March; and when I met with the leadership of the church, I quoted this week's Scripure about "shaking the dust off my feet" to them. Like Beach Walkin; I knew that it was time to quit because after 4 years, I could no longer beat my head against that brick wall, either. So I did. I read just this week that the only good thing that comes from beating our heads against a brick wall is the relief we feel when we stop.
    Thanks to both of you for sharing; and for me-Jesus GIVES us permission to quit when accountability, drama, and discipleship becomes less than it should in the church.