Jump directly to the Content

How to Light the Fire


I never want to let fear of the unexpected cause me to institutionalize lukewarmness.
—Jim Cymbala

After I had been pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle for about a year, the church had grown to fifty people, but we were facing problems: little money, few people coming to faith in Christ. One Tuesday afternoon I sat in my cubbyhole office on Atlantic Avenue, depressed. I knew that later that day, fifteen people, at most, would come to church to pray. How could God call me and my wife to this city not to make a difference? I wondered.

I walked into our empty little sanctuary and recited to God a list of my problems: "Look at this building, this neighborhood.… Our offerings are laughable.… I can't trust So-and-so.… There's so little to work with."

Then the Holy Spirit impressed upon me, "I will show you the biggest problem in the church. It's you."

In that moment I saw with excruciating clarity that I didn't really love the people as God wanted me to. I prepared sermons just to get through another ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Tags:
Posted:
Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Reading God’s Word like a Poem, Not an Instruction Manual
Reading God’s Word like a Poem, Not an Instruction Manual
The Bible teaches us, says Matthew Mullins, but its method of teaching always entails more than information and guidance.
Editor's Pick
Jesus’ Miracles Showcase More Than His Power. They Reveal His Pastoral Nature.
Jesus’ Miracles Showcase More Than His Power. They Reveal His Pastoral Nature.
Learning from the Good Shepherd’s gentle care.
close