Camp meeting sermon notes from Dr. Dongell

All I can say is “Wow!”  Small church pastors, like me, and lay people, I hope that you can find liberation from  being a slave to feeling “responsible for the growth of your church.”  Let me give the notes from a seromon that Dr. Dongell delivered.  It is a truth that we all know is true, but we sometimes need to be reminded about why we serve as we do.

We are all victims of the Zig Zag

  • Zig (I’m gonna); When we come to Christ we have enthusiasm.  We are gonna read our Bibles, pray, and etc.  The same with ministry; we are gonna grow, grow, grow.
  • Zag (All God, all grace); We become tired and doing becomes a chore.   So we need to find relief from our doing.  This is when we say, “Let go, let God; we will trust the Lord.”  And etc. 
  • Zigging and zagging will eventually crash us.  Just like a trailer that comes unhitched and is left only connected by its safety chains.  After a while, and going fast enough, the trailer will turn over and crash.
  • Some churches zig while others zag.
  • We (small churches and pastors) try to find the right formula for growth.  We consistently read leadership books, church growth books, business books, psychology books, and the list goes on.  This is when we risk putting our faith in the pastor, or church, that had success instead of Jesus.


  • Mark 4:26-29
  • 1 Corinthians 3:5-9
  • Psalm 127:1-2
  1. If God is the Lord of the harvest, then He is the Lord of timing.  He will decide how long it will take for a church to grow.  Anything else is not from Him.  If the Lord doesn’t build, the laborers build in vain.
  2. If God is the Lord of the harvest, then He is the Lord of the shape of the harvest; the look of the harvest.  This means that the fruit of growth is not for us to engineer.  God takes care of what the end result will look like. 
  3. If God is the Lord of the harvest, then He is the Lord of all labors.  This means that we do not have to rely on people. 
  4. If God is the Lord of the harvest, then He is the owner of the harvest.  The fruit is His in the end.  Pastors, you know that it is not your church and people.  Laymen, same to you, you know that it is not your church and people.  God is the owner.

This is basic stuff, but if you are struggling with numbers and other stats, then you need to find relief in this truth.  I, and you, in my opinion are only responsible to plant and water.  If we are doing that, then like the farmer, we should be able to sleep in peace at night.



Filed under Church Health, Faith, Leadership, Missional Resources

2 responses to “Camp meeting sermon notes from Dr. Dongell

  1. Thanks. I waited to see if you would summarize Dongell’s sermon, and started doing it myself, but you have summarized it well, and I won’t continue.

    I don’t believe Dongell actually said this (although I may have missed it) but both the Psalms passage, and the one in Mark, mention sleep for the workers. We do need to work, but God is in control, and we can do some resting.

    Thanks again.

    Information on John Ott’s church is here and this is Dongell’s Asbury web page.

  2. Scott Uselman

    Thanks Dr. LaBar. You are right. It is God who is in control. I don’t think Dr. Dongell said that either. I think I am operating under the influence of God working through His Church. Thanks for catching it. I think I have corrected it.

    Thanks for the links too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s