There is a new ministry in town that is really taking off. I had heard that the pastor held to many truths which I myself hold dear. They had a Saturday service so I decided to go and check it out for myself. I found that fundamentally the church was no different from mine. The pastor even sort of looked like me and preached a sermon very similar to the kinds of messages I preach. The big difference was that there were many more people, maybe four or five times the size of the congregation which I pastor.
What could be the difference I wondered? Why are he and his church attracting so many more people than my ministry?
Then I noticed it. He was wearing an orange tie! In all my years I have never worn one. I later found out that he wears it quite often. It’s the only possible explanation for the difference. I have gone online and ordered my own orange tie. I can’t wait to see the difference that it will make!
Are you still with me? Have I left you scratching your head again? Have you ever been tempted to find, isolate, package, and imitate the one thing or other that you deem makes a man’s ministry prosper? Surely there has to be some secret? There has to be something he is doing that I am not? It’s the music, it’s his clothes, it’s his striking good looks, it’s the building, the programs, etc. If only I do what he does then I will have the same impact! Sounds logical, doesn’t it? It is interesting to note that when Spurgeon trained men for the ministry, they went and planted churches or pastored churches very much modeled on the Tabernacle. Do you know what happened? Not one of these men had the same impact. Do you know what has happened to the hundreds of men who have passed through the seminary associated with John MacArthur’s church? You guessed it, not one has had the same success. The same is true of men like John Piper and dozens of Acts 29 churches. If men are doing good work, then they are worthy of imitation regardless of their external results. If they are godly, be like them. If they challenge you with their lives of holiness or prayer, by all means follow! If they are preaching the word—imitate them. If they cause you to be passionate about the gospel, imitate them. But there is no orange tie that we can wear that will do the trick! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d better get online and cancel that order!Jim Savastio Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville