The One Question Every Church Leader Should Be Asking
by Jonathan Jenkins
In 2008, I was serving as a non-staffed (volunteer) church Music Director for a growing church in the Northwestern United States. The music was great! The sermons were great! Volunteering was tremendous, and the church was making headlines in the community! What was missing? Let me explain…
About this time, Peter Youngren, a pastor of a Canadian megachurch and evangelist well-known throughout the world (but not well-known in the U.S.) for his healing crusades where tens of thousands attended, came to speak at our church for a nightly conference. The morning he was scheduled to speak, he wanted to sit down with our church leadership and department heads.
During this meeting, everyone had questions for him. Questions such as, “How can my department recruit more volunteers?”, “How can I take my department to the next level?”, and “What advice can you give me about my department?” All of the questions basically asked the same thing: 'What can I do to make our church bigger and better?'
After the fourth or fifth question, Pastor Youngren paused; obviously perturbed. He leaned up in his chair, put his hands on the table and said authoritatively, “Stop! At the end of the day, why are you all doing what you do?” One person said, “I want my department to get better.” Another said, “I want our church to be the best.” The most spiritually sounding answer was, “I want our church to get a lot of people saved.”
At this, Pastor Youngren had a look of disappointment that I’ll never forget as long as I live. He bowed his head; paused for what seemed like an eternity (but in reality, was only a few seconds) and finally said, “All of your responses to my question began with, ‘I want…’” He then made the most life-changing statement our church has ever heard: “Guys, never…eeeeever forget this: It’s all about Jesus.”
Looking around the room, the body language of my peers said the same exact thing I was feeling: I can’t believe I missed it. How could I have been so carnal? How could I have forgotten the most important element of a church?
He continued, “It’s not about who can build the biggest church, or whose church is the best. It’s not even about how many people your church can get saved! Yes, all of those things are great, but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s all about Jesus.”
That day he challenged all of us to re-focus our efforts on bringing glory to Jesus, first and foremost in everything we do, and I do mean everything. From that point on, everything we did — every move we made — we asked ourselves the most important question of all, ‘Will this glorify Jesus?’
In the years since then, the Lord has relocated my family and I to another state, where I teach my new church this same, simple principle. And we have joyfully learned through our friends at our former church that they've outgrown their building and built an enormous church to house the masses that come to worship Jesus. Yes, Jesus. They don't come to worship the programs, the music, the lights, the building, but they come to worship Jesus. They see people get saved every single service, and they disciple people on how to personally know Jesus. All because of a principle that many churches have forgotten: It’s all about Jesus!