I had the opportunity to review, Where Did God Go by Dr. Tina M. Bell. It’s a book that calls church leaders and the household of faith to a place of accountability and repentance. If we, the presenters of the gospel, are unaware of God’s presence then those we seek to introduce to God and discipleship will remain lost also. Each chapter includes a question as well as points of self-examination to determine our recognition of God. One chapter that spoke to me was chapter four, Pastor, Is This God’s House? Dr. Bell writes, “People show up for choir rehearsal, Bible study, prayer meetings, Sunday worship, pass the offering tray and go home, with the need for something greater plaguing their souls” (p. 52).
Sometimes we seek God out of duty versus relationship. We continue this pattern week after week and leaders and laypersons alike forget to observe God’s absence. We even celebrate our deeds and our dedication, but God is after our hearts. Another chapter that spoke to me was chapter six,Pastor, He Sought You. Will You Chase Him?
Dr. Bell writes, “Performing mighty works in Christ’s name without His sanction will reap self-deception and false security. God has labeled such as actor, a false prophet. There is no merit to giving Him the lordship title without recognition of His lordship authority within our lives” (p. 78).
We can do a lot of good things as leaders, but if it’s for self-gratification it’s of no use. Dr. Bell also reminds us to check our motives in our service. It can be easy to perform Christian duties out of personal gain (i.e., applause, acceptance, value).
It can appear helpful to put our “twist” on the gospel so that we remain relevant to all generations. However Dr. Bell reminds us, God only approves of His plan and not our modifications. This book is a must-read for leaders.The mass exodus of people from the Church is not a coincidence. People are looking for God, and we have presented ourselves. We have presented our ideas of worship and service.
We have turned the attention to ritual versus relationship. All is not lost though. Dr. Bell reminds us that repentance and returning to God is a must, which we can do. I am grateful for her presentation of this work and know I will use it as a reference as I serve. I believe the best way to summarize the heart of this work is as follows on page 19: “The badges of honor we have concerned ourselves with such as being labeled, ‘mega church,’ “Bishop,’ and attaining a ‘world-wide-ministry,’ have clouded the waters of God’s crusade. This is His program for His honor. It is not your anointing. It is His. It is not your church. It is His flock! A gift given should not change its use. You have been given for His people-a servant for servant hood. Any shift in our spiritual directive can hinder His appearance”
May we all remember God chose us and it’s our job to make Him known.
To purchase a copy of Dr. Bell's book visit Amazon by clicking here: Where Did God Go
Ashley Sauls is an author, speaker and teacher who loves to encourage. To learn more about Ashley visit her website here: Ashley Sauls