Is Your “But” Dragging (and taking your church down with you)?

Allow me to be blunt.

Some of you have said “yes” to Jesus and that’s amazing.

Others of you have said “Yes, but . . .” Really. Not. The same. And, I have to tell you, by dragging your “but,” you’re dragging your church down with you.

You may not know who you are. We don’t always recognize the “yes, but” syndrome in ourselves. There are clues in the people around you so I’ll let you in on how to tell you may be a “yes, but” follower.

Clue number one: The leader of your church is showing signs of fatigue. His preaching has become generic and safe. When he or she shows up to meetings, she looks nervous or he seems like he needs a long nap. When you speak, your leader has a deer in the headlights, open-eyed stare. This is one clue that your church is full of “yes, but” followers and you may be their chief but.

Clue number two: You don’t hear many people in your church sharing new ideas, innovations, or suggestions for change. Oh, they used to. People used to get excited and you always liked the ideas, BUT you also could see the downside to everything that they hadn’t really considered. Maybe you’re more practical, wiser, and experienced or MAYBE you’re a “yes, but” follower and your practical wise experience is crushing every prompting of the Holy Spirit in your midst.

Clue number three: The only testimony you have to share about God’s work in your life is over ten years old. Maybe twenty. Maybe more. Okay, your only testimony is from your conversion and that was way back in the rearview mirror. You worried about that for awhile but then you decided that not every follower sees God work in amazing ways all the time. Well, some followers don’t but they’re usually “yes, but” believers. The “yes” believers have new testimonies of God’s activity in their lives all the time.

Clue number four: When you’re with another group of believers who are excitedly talking about how God has inspired them to reach out to others, you speak up. When you do, the others get quiet. Often, they don’t talk much more after you speak. Sometimes, they look a little tired or deflated. You figure that’s okay because they usually don’t end up doing the thing they were thinking about anyway. It’s never occurred to you that that’s because you squashed their inspiration like a gnat on the windshield of your “yes, but” contribution to the conversation. You thought they just petered out on their own. Nope. Your “but” dragged them down.

Clue number five: Your church is dying. You have no young people. The people showing up at your church spend a lot of time talking about the days when the pews were full. There’s a lot of complaining that there aren’t enough people to fill committees. There hasn’t been a baptism in – well – a very long time. This is because the “yes, but” syndrome is contagious. You may be a carrier. You’ve probably infected others. This is serious. You’ve put the work of the Lord in your community on life support!

Don’t despair. There IS a cure. Here it is: GET OFF YOUR BUT!

Say “yes” to Jesus without dragging your but! It will feel uncomfortable at first (okay, it will probably always feel uncomfortable but you’ll learn to tolerate the discomfort.) Believe me, the rewards of saying “yes” to Jesus will outweigh the benefits of remaining on your but.

And when you say “yes” enough, your church will no longer be a drag.

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 

(One final clue you may be a “yes, but” believer: If someone from your church shares this blog post with you or reads it aloud at your next gathering, that may indicate that there are “yes,but” followers in your church. You may be one. Remember. The cure is to get off your “but” and simply say “YES” to Jesus.

If you have a minute, I’d love to have your feedback on the tweaks I’ve made to the website. I want it to be the best for all of you so, let me know what works and what needs more tweaking, won’t you?

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    The Conversation

  1. Cyn Rogalski says:

    When hubby Jack & I were dating, we quickly learned the 11th Commandment was “Thy Shall Not ‘Yeahbut..'”. That’s the old, ” yeah, but….” response/habit we had gotten into. After 24 years, we still use it!
    Great points you made Lori!

  2. Maxine D says:

    Hmmm – I will have to confess that I am not as active as I was in church life – partially as DH is not a well man , I cannot commit, and know that I am able to ‘do’ what I promised. I have been ‘pricked’ by this entry Lori and I ma not sure if I should thank you for it 🙂

    • We all have seasons of ministry, Maxine. Sometimes getting off our “buts” means becoming active in prayer, intercession, and words of encouragement to others. As long as you aren’t dragging people down or holding them back by squashing the spirit, you may need to be active at home for a season in your work for the Lord and the furthering of His kingdom. Who knows who may be inspired by your care for your DH?

  3. Ah Lori, you have once again hit it on the head. This was a great reminder to me. Years ago, the Lord called me on my prayer habit of saying, “you know I trust you, but…” “I want to follow you, but….” I believe, but….” He gently revealed that everything after the but was a sign of my lack of trust, my unbelief. It’s hard to live out our faith and prayer life without buts, but it is so vital to growing and being used by the Lord.

    Love your desire to speak the words the Lord gives you even when they are hard!

  4. Verna V says:

    You nailed it! My hubby is a pastor of 2 dying congregation. Burned out members over 60. No change. Dwelling on the glory days and so on. It’s a hard ministry but we stay faithful. Thanks for this.