I’m sure this is going to ruffle some feathers… well, maybe if I had been blogging here for more than a month and had established any readers it would ruffle some feathers. So, perfect timing! First, although I am the pastor of a church in our local suburban community of Katy, Tx this is not written in a way that necessitates people attending our church. We have some really great churches in our community as I am sure there are in your community as well. There are various options and rarely ever only one “good” church a community.
We have a fantastic athletic club here that is called Lifetime Fitness. It is a large company with locations all over the place and it is definitely the spot with the most amenities in our community. When someone moves to our community they will eventually look for an athletic club to join. They probably will not go with any regularity but you have to join… that is just what you do here in suburbia. These new homeowners will look around and try some of the options in the community but they will not doubt choose Lifetime. The people are nice, the trainers are knowledgeable, the amenities and plenty, and the place is beautiful. All the comforts and services they could possibly desire are found there and eventually our new couple will realize this is true and they will pledge their allegiance to this suburban mecca of fitness services.
This is all fine and dandy… Lifetime has done a phenomenal job of establishing themselves in our community. The problem is when that same new couple moved in they also needed to find a church. It just so happens that they looked for a church the exact same way they looked for a local fitness center. As a matter of fact, we could probably re-write that story replace church for fitness center and it would be a valid description.
When families move to suburbia, one of the items on their list is to find a church. Church could be a Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal, or Baptist church, but there is a social pressure present which necessitates them having a church. Just like the fitness center, they will not likely attend regularly but they will have their membership card available when the topic come up in conversation. Everyone in suburbia “has a church.” Here is an easy test you can deploy… you have probably noticed the activities of your neighbors on Sunday. They might be letting the kids play outside, walking the dog, washing the cars, or maybe stretching for a weekly golf outing… either way you know that they aren’t loading the family up for church each Sunday. Yet, when you talk with them and church comes up in conversation they seem to “have” a church. You often hear phrases like “our church” or “my church” from them when things like that come up. It is just part of being a suburban family – “having” a church.
If we have established we are all going to look for a church, then I would like to offer some guides as to what the suburban family should look for in that church. A church is so very different than a fitness club. Matter of fact, church is different than anything else in which we might participate. For church to be for us what it is really supposed to be, what do we look for in a church? As much as I hate the idea of “church shopping”, it is a reality. People search or “shop” around for churches. You can think of these ideas as Church Shopping 101. You should demand that all 5 of these things be present in church…
- Bible Teaching – Yes, sadly they all are not that way. If we believe that the Bible is the book of truth or God’s word, then we want it to be the source of what is talked about at church. Also, it can be a little tough sometimes to figure out if a church is a Bible Teaching church. I would suggest you listen to the pastor and ask yourself if he is sharing his thoughts and supporting those thoughts with various pieces of the Bible or if he is sharing the Bible and letting his thoughts support or apply what it is already plainly saying?
- Participant Oriented – This one is often the hardest to understand because it is one of the characteristics that make it different than all the other things we would look to find in suburbia – such as a fitness club. A Participant Oriented church is a church that is deeply concerned with how you can participate in seeing the mission accomplished. This church is more about how you can participate than how many services you can consume. By definition the church is a group of people working together to accomplish a mission or goal.
- Life Changing – This one is a little more obvious but maybe harder to swallow. This type of church doesn’t want you to just find a level of comfort in where your life is today. This church wants to see a constant change in your life including your family, career, finances, and everything. If you can see being exactly the same person you are today after attending a church for years than it is definitely NOT a Life Changing church.
- Externally Focused – We’re talking about a church here that is compassionate towards the local community as well as the global community. Whether on their website or on a Sunday (or even through talking to the pastor) listen for way in which they are leveraging their people resources and financial resources in local and global ways.
- Jesus Talking – If you can attend a Sunday meeting and not hear the word “Jesus” then you are at the wrong place. Through song and spoken word you most definitely should hear about Jesus. If a group can gather together on Sunday and not mention Jesus then you should be very afraid… or maybe you just walked into Lifetime Fitness by mistake.
Obviously there is so much more that can be added and nuanced here, but this is a good foundation. The really great thing is that if these five items are present then so many other important things will be a by-product of these five. So, how does your church fit into this list of thoughts? Remember, this is just the basics, the introductory class. I don’t want to hear from all of you banner waiving contemporary worship evangelists or choir robe gospel devotees. That is not what this is about! Oh, and I love Lifetime Fitness. I’m a member and I go anywhere from 3-5 times per week. It is just not a church.
There is a competitive characteristic in our DNA that seems to have been injected with Adam & Eve at the fall. We all pick our sides and fight for them in some area of life. Maybe for you it is politics. You have taken your stance and YOU know all the right answers. Maybe it is about how babies must be fed organic baby food. I’m serious, there are people who seem to be willing to die over these issues. Suburbia is a breeding ground for this mine vs. yours mentality. It could be my cable company vs. yours or it could by my sons tae kwon do studio vs. yours. In the end it is all the same root spirit of I am right and you’re not. I practice a given activity correctly and you don’t. I support the best organization and yours is not only inferior but wrong.
It is no surprise that we often approach church the same way. Now, this is far from a plea for universalism. Jesus is the only way to have a relationship with God and the Bible is the only inerrant and infallible word of truth. When I talk about church here, I’m referring to the big church, small church, traditional church, contemporary church, missional church, seeker church, emerging church, emergent church, my church, your church players on the field. Then, there seems to be smaller nuances of each of those larger categories.
My fellow church planters are plagued with this mentality. It seems that in order to pioneer a new church you have to be against all of the other churches. It really hurts and angers me when I hear this sort of language from other pastors, of all people.
One of the biggest riffs I’ve seen in recent years in my sphere is the big church (or mega church) vs. small church inflamed positions. To be involved in one or the other often necessitates a stance against the other option. Here in suburbia that has created churches which are isolated and disconnected from each other. Churches are so concerned with their own turf or methods and programs that they often have no idea what is going on in the larger community of faith.
I have a unique view point. I have been employed and deeply involved in huge churches and smaller churches. For the first time, just over the past year, I have been connected slightly to what is happening in some of the other churches in our community. I’m not casting blame on others in this respect but accept full responsibility. But, through this God has given me some pretty counter-cultural thoughts and questions.
The church I now pastor is a small missional community nestled inside the suburban sprawl we call Katy, Tx. Katy is a suburban community of about 300,000 people. Our church, by God’s grace, has impacted a lot of homes in this community. By his continued grace, I believe we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what He will do through us. We can do ministry in a way that other churches cannot. We are a small community – where everyone will know your name – moving forward on mission. You walk in and you quickly feel the family atmosphere of what God is doing in and through our church.
Within our Katy community there are huge churches, tiny churches, and everything in between. Each one of those churches is uniquely equipped to impact this local community in a way that the others will not be able to duplicate. This is formed by the story of the church, the pastor, and the people – the unique fingerprint of each church gathering. The resources which are available to each church vary widely – financial resources, people resources, gift and ability resources. Sit down, take a deep breath, and think this through with me…
What if all of these bible-believing, gospel-teaching churches leveraged the ability they would have together as a unified movement? What if the resources of small, medium, and large churches overlapped like the job descriptions of each member playing on a baseball diamond? I believe it would be monumental. What if it wasn’t about my church vs. your church? What if all of our energy was put behind leveraging my church AND your church for the sake of gospel transformation within this grand community?
I don’t have the answers yet but I’m praying for a day that we are all, as leaders and followers of Jesus, are wrestling with these questions. Thanks to Mitch Maher at Redeemer Community Church and the effort he has put into getting the local gospel leaders together… I’m at least asking the questions.
Would you be willing to pray and ask God what your role in all of this might be? It doesn’t matter if you are a local church attender or one of the pastors of any of these churches… God wants to use you. How do you fit into this movement? Your story and gifts have a role to play. What are the baby steps you can take in hopes of seeing greater gospel impact?
Suburbia. We live in a place of cul-de-sacs and subdivisions. Our houses are nicely organized into smaller groups of houses (communities) within our larger master-planned communities. Our houses are designed facing each other or just mere feet next to each other. People move from the urban center to suburbia because of this utopian picture of community. However, reality comes crashing down with garage doors and yard divisions called privacy fences.
I just ran across this article that talks about how many of our facebook friends are people we really know, KNOW. I don’t want to come off sounding like one of those social media haters – because I’m not. I think there are some really great things that can be leveraged through social media. Most recently as I have gone through some health issues and surgery, I have been really blessed to see through facebook or twitter that people were praying for me. I have been able to reconnect with friends that I would have found no other way aside from social media. I have also engaged in some great conversations that have been enabled through these great twenty-first century staples. Birthdays… I haven’t even mentioned… how odd would it be not to feel all that birthday facebook love?
Since we have established the fact that I’m not a hater… I’ll let you into my struggle. We have chosen to live in master-planned communities designed to orchestrate relationships. This being the case, we live in a constant state of rushing into the garage so quickly the door artfully closes only moments after our car passes the little safety laser at the entrance. We might peek out long enough to grab our garbage cans off the curb only because we are scared of the HOA enforcer that drives around with nothing to do except for scribble our shortcomings and associate fees to those shortcomings. Yet with over 600 million users and each one spending over 15 hours per month on facebook we all have a plethora of “friends.”
It seems that with our growing busyness we are replacing real-life relationships with e-relationships. The definition of the word ‘friend’ has completely changed in regards to how it is used in our day-to-day language. When we refer to someone as a friend it could mean that we bumped into them in line at Taco Bell one day, made a passing connection and then found a friend request in our facebook inbox.
Do we really know what it means to navigate life in authentic relationships with other people? Can we be open with someone and let them into both our struggles and joys? Do we value caring for others? This busyness has created such a me-centric worldview that I am not sure we still know how to be friends. How many friends do you really have? I’m not talking about those e-relationships… but real friends?
Friendship is giving of yourself to someone else with their needs valued above yours. It is participating with others through their deepest struggles and their moments of greatest victory. True friendship demands proximity at crucial moments in life. A friend is someone who can see it on your face… or hear it in your voice… when the crucible of circumstance has been realized. A friend would recognize your voice and welcome your plea at any hour of the day or night. Most importantly, a friend is someone who has been on their knees praying with your name frequently on their lips.
How can you intentionally invest yourself in these types of relationships? Are you a true friend or have you settled for the false security established by those exaggerated numbers on our facebook profile? Are you willing to give the counter-cultural effort it will require to build true friends?
Reminiscing is what our parents and grandparents used to do, right? Yes. I remember endless stories of how things used to be when my father and grandfather were children. I remember the crazy stories about all the things they used to do, and yes… even those stories about walking to school up hill, in the snow, both ways. Maybe I haven’t earned my way to that status yet but as a father of three I have earned a little credit.
I grew up playing outside. Every memory I have of childhood activities takes place outside. Memories of playing catch with my dad and various other kids around the neighborhood. Whether we were sitting down under a tree trading baseball cards or we were running hard in the middle of full scale baseball game, we kiddos were playing outside. We played baseball for hours and hours. We had countless imaginary games and the funny thing is that there were often times only three or four of us playing (fyi – it takes a lot more than that to play a baseball game). Now that is imagination! Do kids today know what “ghost men” are? Probably not. For you younger and less imaginative folk, “ghost men” were the imaginary runners who populated the bases and the defensive positions when there were only three or four of us who were actually playing. We would come up with some pretty imaginative plays. My friend (a real person) would pitch the ball to me and hopefully I would get a nice hit. As I was running the bases it was up to me how the other “ghost men” progressed around the bases – you can imagine that it often worked out in my favor.
So much of my development happened outside figuring out how to play well with my friends – both real and imaginary. We ran around and sweat in this Houston humidity from sun up to sun down. We played hard and we had a blast. To give you a little context, the first Nintendo system was just released in my junior high years. It was very expensive and not something that everyone had at first. Later, it became more common and I did get acquainted with duck hunt and super mario bros.
Our kids today grow up in such a different social setting. It is no longer normal for kids to grow up playing outside all day. Depending on where you live (even in suburbia) it isn’t safe for kids to be as free as we were in our generation. The social growth that happens between kids today often happens with headphones and a microphone discussing video game moves over an internet connection instead of pastimes like neighborhood baseball.
It is easy to speak about the problems of a given culture or society. There are no shortage of deconstructionists. My generation got some great exercise and social interaction but the next generation of video game masters spawned the dot com explosion and created the tech world we all exist under today. There are great things that can be taken from all of our experiences.
My questions is, how can we, as parents, be proactive about the way we raise our children in a way that combines the best of all of our experiences? What if we viewed our role as parents holistically spiritual? What if we saw every opportunity, activity, and engagement through spiritual lenses? It would be easy to drown under the evaluation of positioning this activity against that one. We could argue hopelessly about what activities produce the best, most well-rounded children.
When you reflect on the way that Jesus led you see a man who modeled truth for the disciples. You see a man who taught truth to the disciples. You also see a man who partnered with the disciples in their experiential learning of truth. Every moment with Jesus was a growing moment for the disciples, regardless of their daily engagements. Maybe the answers aren’t in taking a stance against video games or how much our kids play outside, inside, with others, or alone. Maybe it isn’t about picking the best activities… best dance studio… violin teacher… or making the all-star team. Maybe it is more about seeing all their experiences as an opportunity to mold them spiritually.
Times have changed – they always will – but the truth has not. How does a spiritually holistic view of parenting change the way you approach your role as a parent? Are your children participating in activities as an end in themselves or are those activities an opportunity for you to teach and model Christ-like followership to them?
You can’t live within the throws of suburbia without an all-american dog! You don’t have to have three of them like we do we but everyone needs at least one. We brought Shiner home just after Christmas this year as an eight-week-old puppy. He is definitely my dog. I house trained him. I stayed up at night with him when he first came home. I feed him. And, I train him. But I LOVE doing it. He is our second Labrador Retriever. Our older one is about twelve-years-old now. He and I didn’t bond in the same way because he had to spend a good chunk of time away from us early on in his life.
Why in the world am I telling you about my dog? I know that is what you thinking… Aside from the fact that I can because this is my site, he does fit into the larger theme of things here at Suburbia Uncovered. Shiner has been one of the greatest conversation points between me and my neighbors over the past 6 months. He has also forced me to GET OUTSIDE. There is something about a well behaved dog that brings comfort and conversation between strangers. It is no exaggeration that my relationship with the man who lives directly across the street from us has exploded over the past six months for no other reason aside from us finding common ground through my dog.
Shiner is fun… he is stress relief for me… and I have really enjoyed having him. But, he is also another small tool (although he is not really that small) that I can leverage in my efforts to engage life with my neighbors. Maybe you have a dog and you walk it religiously every evening around your neighborhood. I want to encourage you to view that as a God-given opportunity. Use that time to pray for the homes that you are passing. Use it to embrace new opportunities to converse with the neighbors that God has brought around you. And hey… if you don’t have a dog this is a great excuse to go out and get one – for the glory God, by all means.
The projection of perfection is the umbrella under which we suburbanites live. When I began learning how to research a culture during my doctoral studies, one of the first things we talked about was the difference between an insider and an outsider. There are both pros and cons to looking in on a culture from the outside inward. Also, there are both pros and cons to studying a culture from the inside (as an insider). I have done extensive study in the area of suburban culture. But, I am both limited by and blessed through my view as an insider of the culture.
At some moments I can see things others can’t and then at other moments I seem to be blind to truths that jump to the attention of others. One of the biggest characteristics of suburbia is the facade of perfection. There is a social pressure to project the image of perfection in all areas of life. We project the image of perfect parenting by all the activities in which our children participate – and how many stickers for those activities we can put on the back of our SUVs. We project the image of professional success by the long hours and busyness we advertise during everyday, normal conversations. Have you ever noticed how often someone tells you about how many hours they work or how late they come home? We’ve correlated the amount of time we work with an appearance of success.
It has become very evident to me that I inherently try to project an image of perfection as well. Sounds hypocritical doesn’t it? Well, it is what it is… My natural inclination is to hide the specific struggles that I am experiencing. I have really noticed this in my preaching. Just today I taught on “Journeying Through Struggles” from 1 Peter 4:12-19 and it was so difficult to be authentic. It was so incredibly uncomfortable to even reference the struggles I have walked through over the years. I did some, but I could feel myself pulling back… not wanting to go too deep. Some of my motives are very healthy – I want the scriptures to be front-and-center at all times. I don’t want to justify the issue away by this reason alone. Other times, I regret to say, I am just incredibly uncomfortable letting people see that I don’t have everything all together. Who am I really fooling? It is such a sinful inclination for me to be this prideful.
Growing in authenticity as a suburban pastor is one of the ways God is stretching me right now. This is the area where he is growing me personally and growing me as a pastor and teacher. He is teaching me to find that zone where I can make much of him through being completely honest about me. The gospel begins to radically transform individuals and families when they come to a point of honesty, authenticity, and transparency with Jesus. I have been called by God to lead people to this place of authenticity. The manner in which I will be able to lead them there is not by words alone but by my example.
What are some ways that you can be more authentic and honest with those around you? Where are some areas of your life where God might want you to lower the facade and allow some other people in to journey with you? Not one of us is perfect, you know…..
“Those who can’t do, teach.” I’m sure you have heard that saying some place before. The saying alludes to this idea that people who are not able to succeed in a given field can revert to teaching in that field. Well, I have not hidden the fact that I am the pastor of a church called The Crossings. We are a church in the middle of stereotypical suburbia. Every word I speak in the pulpit or over coffee is placed within the suburban context. God has called me – and so many others, I believe – to be a missionary in this suburban sprawl called Katy, Tx.
There has been one very small thing that we have done which has produced more encouraging moments than anything else over our five years of residence in this neighborhood. It really is ridiculously stupid to admit this is a “new” engagement for us. But, we fall into the same traps that everyone else does here in suburbia – we get too busy. It really is true that we find ourselves too busy managing church to talk to our neighbors about Jesus. How asinine is that? I’m ashamed to admit it… but I’m committed to being honest with my journey.
Here it is… we have started spending time outside. Yup, it is that simple. We realized after living in our current home for five years that we really did not truly know a single neighbor. Sure, we waved and recognized some faces on the way to the mailbox. But, the fact remains, we were not in the habit of having life-on-life conversations with the community in which God had placed us. So what did we do?
As a family we began to sit outside and let the kids play. We sit on the front porch and play with our children and our puppy. At times we allow the kids to eat their evening meal outside and then spend a few minutes playing. We look for every opportunity to just be there – visible. I don’t have any mind-blowing stories of how we have seen Jesus heal demonized home owners. What has happened is we have begun to see the same people repeatedly while meeting others for the first time. The conversations between us and our neighbors has multiplied exponentially. It has been amazing how God has connected the dots. We will talk to one neighbor who mentions seeing us out with the kids or throwing the retriever dummy for the dog – it seems to break walls and create some comfort. We have had some pretty deep conversations with some and just a hello to others… but it is PROGRESS!
We are praying that God continues to use these interactions as an opportunity to live as Jesus – incarnate within a community, through relationships. What would it look like for you to spend more time outside? If you have kids, sit in the driveway and let them play… If you have a dog, play with it or begin training it… How about a flowerbed? Do you have a flowerbed? Start working in your yard and looking for opportunities to engage life with those who live around you. Just take that simple little step and GO OUTSIDE!
The story God is using to transform me can be read in the first post, Journeying Through Pain (1 of 3). This writing slowly begins to open the door of realizations that God has impressed on my heart. I’m processing these ideas for this Sunday’s sermon which will directly precede my surgery this next week. The passage I will be preaching is 1 Peter 4:12-19. The ideas here will be a slight explosion on those thoughts.
These are the statements that have brought me comfort in this season. These statements give me some direction and hope as I have wrestled between the thoughts of my flesh and the nudges from the Spirit.
- My struggles are planned catalysts of transformation.
- My struggles are an opportunity to deeply experience Christ.
- My struggles are an avenue to greater Christ-driven JOY.
- My struggles are a means of walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
- My struggles are ultimately purposed to draw attention to God.
- My struggles are crafted for my ultimate good.
- My struggles are an exercise of my faith.
- My struggles are a call to radical obedience.
I plan to write one more post in this series that continues these ideas after I arrive on the other side of my surgery.
I want to start by saying that so many of you who will read this have been through exponentially worse circumstances than I have ever experienced. Also, I’ve never been left alone for a moment on this journey. My family, wife, and friends have been a phenomenal blessing.
In my own small way I have asked a lot of questions and struggled to hear God through it all. My hope is that a glimpse into my struggle will spark some new thoughts about how God works.
As a 34 year old/young man, I have now dealt with a “thorn in my side” for over half of my years. The pauline pun there is pretty literal. When I was 16 I was a very healthy High School student playing safety on the school football team. Midway through the game I tackled one of the opposing running backs in the middle of the field and began feeling a sharp pain in my side. When we left the felid as our offense came out, I mentioned what had happened to the team trainer. He, understandably, dismissed it as a usual cramp of some type. I don’t hold that against him. If I remember correctly he was a combat medic during the Vietnam War and I’m sure he was pretty desensitized.
Later that night my parents took me to the ER because I began passing a lot of blood in my urine. As expected, there were countless tests run and doctors consulted. I met my first urologist that weekend as he was called in to diagnose and treat my ailment. He described to me and my family that what he found was a blockage or “obstruction” that was inhibiting my kidney in function of draining to the bladder. He thought this issue had probably been present my entire life and by some chance had been enflamed during this football game. It was and is pretty confusing to think through how something that was present from birth would begin to cause pain after 16 years of going unnoticed… but I’m not going to dive into that story.
I missed so much school that we had to work through various appeal processes so that I could acquire the necessary credits to advance. By the end of my High School career I had been through multiple procedures and had seen numerous specialists all over the Houston area. None of the surgical procedures were successful. The pain came in varying intensities over the following years. I would go weeks, and even months, of some occasions without any pain. The seasons of reprieve would be followed by seasons of life altering discomfort.
There are a few pretty entertaining stories along the way… I wish I could share all of them. Okay, just one. I have taken A LOT of pain medication over the years… every kind imaginable. One day my mom and I were heading downtown to visit a new doctor and I had taken a good bit of pain medication. As sometimes happens, I got nauseous and my mom pulled the car over. We were on the Pierce Elevated in Houston which is a long bridge that travels over roads and “stuff.” I opened the car door and vomited off the bridge onto whatever opportune audience was below… I didn’t look… I didn’t want to know.
In 2009 things seemed to intensify without reprieve. Every day I would experience significant pain on my right side. After many tests there was another surgical procedure called a Robotic Pyeloplasty. I spent a few days in the hospital and some additional days at home recovering. It seems as though there were a few months of improvement after that procedure before all of the symptoms returned.
As of today I am approaching my next surgery continuing to pray that it will be the one that ends this journey. The story is still unfolding. My wife has always known me as someone who is battling this and my children have only known their father as one who is marked by it. My ministry career including my journey as Church Planter and Pastor at The Crossings has been marked by this struggle as well.
You can probably quickly imagine the questions I have asked. God, why…. why can’t I be a healthy father and husband? Why can’t I run and play with my kids at every whim? or help my wife bathe them and put them to bed? God, I’m a pastor of a church… I can work harder and be more effective if I’m healthy. Why do you see fit to limit me in my work for you and your church? The common denominator here is the question WHY! It is the same question so many others have asked regarding their individual struggles in life.
In the next post I will share the areas where I believe I have answers and the other areas where I find myself still asking.
This is one of the most frequent questions I get asked. Sometimes there is a little variation like, “How do you feel things are going?” or “Is the church doing well?” or “Are you growing?” Some slight twist on that seems to be what anyone who knows me (barely) wants to ask. Let me quickly say, sometimes it is out of pure love and interest for me and the body of Christ. However, there are other times when it feels like it is a fishing expedition for some tidbit of gossip that might be exciting enough to earn the questioner an interested audience at a future engagement.
I’ve answered this question many different ways over the years. The truth is that it should be answered differently during various seasons because the church is a living body which goes through struggles and sees great victories. However, aside from just the truth of answering the question, I have found that there are a couple different approaches that I can take – and honestly, I have done them all.
Politician Pastor – Often times, depending on how well I know the individual who is doing the asking, there is a significant temptation to offer a political spin as my reply. This reply would only consist of the great victories being experience and it would put a twist on any of the struggles. Here is an example of how the Politician Pastor might answer –
The church is doing great. We have been reaching the world through our mission efforts and we are seeing new families here in Katy all the time. Our people are so busy with the journey on which God has placed them and it has been such a great joy seeing them continue to grow.
Self-deprecating Pastor – There is a temptation for pastors to lean into the “vow of poverty” stereotype as a way to acquire attention from others. If he can get someone feeling sorry for him then he might be able to pull out some encouraging words of comfort that fuels the fire of his pride. Here is an example of how the Self-deprecating Pastor might reply –
We have been going through a tough season. The weight is just so heavy… I try my best to keep up with the needs of the people but there just isn’t enough hours in the day. We are seeing new families but it seems like every new family has five children and demands so much attention.
Authentic Pastor – This is harder than it sounds to accomplish. It seems to me that each pastor has a default setting that he tends towards. I believe that I tend toward the Political Pastor sometimes. I’m not trying to blame the institution here… but I feel like I have been trained to constantly benchmark the morale of the church. Through the books and classes that are often provided to many pastors they are taught a CEO style of leadership. Here is an example of how the Authentic Pastor might reply… and how I hope I can reply –
God’s grace is so evident through the victories and struggles in our church community right now. We are seeing people who are struggling but they are struggling within our community of faith and support. We are seeing new families come and taste of our Sunday morning gathering. Some of those families are diving in head-first while others continue their journey to find the church they have pictured. What excites me the most is that whether walking in victory or struggle, passing through or leading the charge, we are experiencing the transforming power of the gospel in a constant way.
Those of you who have not ever experienced the inside of ministry may find this all to be craziness. However, I would guess that those of who have been engaged in the work of furthering His church would find some harmony.