Amazing how quickly a problem in the church can draw conversation and criticism from church members. I thought that headline would attract some readers, but isn’t that kinda sad? How about taking time to read about a pastor who is thrilled with and blessed by the Elders and Pastors of his church and how much joy he finds in serving with them?
Kathy and I had an incredible night this week with the Elders and Campus Pastors of our church (about 70 people). It was an amazing time of laughter and worship and food and prayer and throwing people in the pool and thinking together how blessed we are to be in ministry partnership. Honestly, I’ve had a ‘spiritual high’ since that night, and I have been asking myself “why?”
1) Gifted and committed. I think it was Lyn Donald (our assistant Senior Pastor’s wife) who observed how blessed she felt to be in the company of such a large number of incredibly dedicated servants of Christ. Sometimes we see people with commitment but little capacity or gifting. Other times we observe Christians with incredible kingdom potential, but they are doing so little for the Lord. Harvest is blessed to have leaders who are totally passionate about and deeply gifted for ministry leadership.
2) Serious and FUN The bbq had times of incredible ‘bend at the waist’ laughter as we teased friends and tossed swimmers, but we also shared a wonderful time of prayer and worship. Kathy and I were so blessed to have the leaders gather around us and pray for our refreshment during the coming weeks of study and vacation away from weekly message preparation. I have been in a lot of serious meetings and I have enjoyed many people who know how to play, but again the power is in the combo! I love that our leaders live like they are in a life and death battle for the souls of men, but play like they know their Father in heaven is “rejoicing over them with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
3) Authentic Love for Jesus. As the evening began to wind down I stopped circulating and settled in by the fire with a random group of both men and women leaders. You can learn much about an Elder from what they talk about. No one mentioned our record-breaking offerings in July, or how the church attendance is up 1600 people over this time last summer, or the nearly 300 baptized last Sunday. With no prompting or direction the conversation turned quickly to to Jesus Christ. Personal testimony over the individual lives Christ is impacting including their own, excitement over opportunities to shepherd particular hurting ones, remembrance of God’s faithful guidance through past leadership trials, delight in specific ways to give Christ glory through effective ministry. None of this was forced or contrived. The conversation about serving Jesus Christ at our church and the joy we find in doing it together was as natural as breathing, each delighting in the report another gave. Wow wow wow. I needed that, Lord. Forgive me for allowing my focus to be on the demanding and disgruntled just because they make the most noise. Thanks for turning my eyes to some of the ‘Navy Seals,’ and for the reminder of the joy we find in serving You on the same team. I could mention some of their names but they would not want that. It’s not about, ‘Am I known?’ or ‘Do people give me the attention I think I deserve?’ It’s about serving Jesus Christ on a team, persevering through difficulty, not being derailed by preference and preserving the “unity of the Spirit” together (Ephesians 4:2).
Kathy and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the team of leaders who serve Christ by serving the people at Harvest Bible Chapel.
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when the brothers (and sisters) dwell together in UNITY!” (Psalm 133:1)
(My guess is that some of them will comment here expressing their perspective.)