As promised last Friday in THIS POST I will share some stuff that I have been going through, and learning from the amazing conference Cheryl and I went to in South Carolina recently. If you want her take you can read:
THIS and THIS from her blog.
By the way... I know this might not be about our church and your life, but it is about my life and my leadership and that does affect you so I hope you find this interesting. If not then check this out :-)
My life is not defined by the success of my church.
I wish I could go into all the in's and out's of how this feels, but maybe those of you who are parents can relate. You dream about giving birth to this baby, you work so hard for the first couple of years, it grows up a little and it is easy to let your life be defined by your "baby". But, it isn't!
I am still wrestling with how this plays out in week to week life, but I am like most church planters. We live and die by the weekend numbers. If the numbers and offering were good, then we are good. If they sucked then we suck! But, in the end it all kind of feels the same in its affects, it robs you of your joy and even your intimacy with God.
SO... the size of my church does not define me! What my fellow pastors think of me does not define my worth. What the people that get mad and leave our church think of me does not define me. God and God alone defines my worth and He said I was worth sending Jesus for... wow!
If I really want to make a difference then I need a selfless passion.
There are three levels most pastors and church leaders live at. The first level is make a name for yourself, make a living, you are good if the numbers are good and the enemy to all that is EVERYONE. The weather, the football game being a 1pm start, the church down the street that talks bad about you.
The second level is make a name for OUR church. You shift from ME to WE. We / our church can make a difference. We are good if the numbers are good. And, the enemy is the competition, or other churches, and the critics who take shots at our ministry.
The third level is the place where God wants me! A selfless passion where GOD is GOOD and the enemy is Satan! My life is worth nothing to me so I keep preaching the Good News about Jesus NO MATTER WHAT!
I needed to do a gut check!
I had to stand up with hundreds of other pastors at the conference and confess I was at level one or two depending on the day or the week. Get this, if I take credit for the down times then I will also take credit for the good times instead of giving God the glory! DANG, that still stings!
God did not call Cheryl and I to start Church of the Suncoast because our area was supposed to explode with growth. So now that it hasn't why would I take my hand off the plow now!
Focus on friendship with your wife!
Cheryl and I have been very blessed in the fact that we married our best friend. Before we got romantic we became best friends. The challenge is to stay that way once you are married and the pressures of life and ministry come into play. Thankfully this part of the conference was a reminder and not a wake up call. I am so glad I get to do this life and church thing with my best friend, love you babe!
When is Jesus not enough?
When the promises of God about this church and my ministry seem half fulfilled AT BEST... what do you do with that? Hey preacher!!! When is Jesus not enough. God has not promised you success, He promised you Jesus and gave Jesus for you. When is that not enough for you? See "gut check" and repeat.
Walk towards the messes.
Oh my gosh!!! This past year has been one ministry mess after another for Cheryl and I. But, guess what Jesus did? He walked towards the messes not away from them. Word!
These things also apply to your life and my guess is you can relate more than I lead on. But, I hope these two post give you some insight into my life and how you can pray for your pastor.
God is not done with us yet Suncoast!