The Desires of a Congregation's Heart

Reality Check uses card suits to explain church vocation

An important promise in the Bible reads, "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." - Psalm 37:4  But, where do the desires of my heart come from? I suspect the significant ones come from God. When He promises to give me my desires, He is not agreeing to buy me a Porsche. He is instead agreeing to fulfill the very impulses that He has already wired into my being. Something has to change in me so that I delight in God, however, before I discover the deeper desires of my heart. I have found in my own life that there is a circularity to what is being promised here. God is glad to give me the things he already wants me to want. If my deepest desire is to communicate, God helps me to learn how to write. Other people have discovered a desire to see beauty and become artists, or to care for the sick and entered into medicine, or to teach, etc. Very tricky, isn’t it? 

In the same way, if your congregation delights in the Lord, the deepest desires of the collective body which is your church will be fulfilled. Is it the desire of your congregation’s heart to have a beautiful building and happy members? Or is your congregation more interested in insuring that the next generation finds a church where they can experience authentic worship and Christian fellowship? Or does your congregation’s heart lean towards mission, that is, working with the poor, befriending the oppressed, and being a transformative force in the community? Or, finally, is your church wired by God to be a key player in the region, capturing religious market share while it provides quality programs and worship?

Careful, before you answer: Each of us as church leaders has a personal preference for one the four suits or pathways to success. Chances are good that your personal desire is not the same as your congregation’s group desire. This doesn’t mean that you should part company. Every person’s individual passion is needed by a congregation as it moves down its path. One of the things that has to happen before we can help lead the church on its path is we have to set aside our own desires, and prayerfully ask to hear the Holy Spirit speak through the small groups of our church.

Reality Check 101 book provides two tools (Suits of Cards, Roundabout) to discern the desires of a congregation's heart.