I remember when God called me to pastoral ministry. I was excited to jump in and preach to thousands of people. I could close my eyes and picture myself standing behind a pulpit and bringing messages that compelled people to cry out to God for transformation. He gave me ideas of different kinds of messages and new ways to look at scripture. The world was at my finger tips and I was set to be a pastor that many would revere and follow! Don’t laugh….I am really being honest here.
Then, I entered formal ministry. I began to dive into the workload, conflict, and set backs that accompany anyone in the same role. I thought I knew what ministry was going to be like….preaching, teaching, and mentoring people on a regular basis.
As I talked to more and more pastors, I learned about the horror stories. The stories about that one lady in the church that thinks she owns the kitchen, the couples dividing churches because of infidelity, and the tales of midnight domestic violence calls. I was afraid when God called me to start a new church.
I had gone to church all my life and had seen great leadership examples. I knew what “church” was supposed to look like (music, preaching, children’s ministry, youth, bake sales, etc). I didn’t, however, know what God really wanted from me.
I was excited to lead a church some day, and I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what I was supposed to do. I thought I was supposed to create an exciting atmosphere where people could come and enjoy themselves while they sang songs and hopefully enjoyed the preaching. I went to school to hone my craft and learn more so I could “wow”people with my advanced Biblical knowledge.
Well, guess what…..God has rocked me lately and has brought me to humility like I have never seen before. In the last 6 months, I have preached a full message approximately 8 times. This is because, for the last 6 months, we have seen services full of testimonies that have been spurred on by the Holy Spirit.
We are a small church…we don’t do anything flashy or attractional (nothing at all wrong with this) but we are seeing new people regularly, barely paying our bills, and getting excited about Jesus. The children are also showing us wht devotion looks like.
Why am I telling you all about this? I am saying this because I have experienced a glimpse of what church is supposed to be like. Church is supposed to be a reflection of the “business of heaven” as C.S. Lewis would say (joy is that business). We laugh together, cry together, and are real and open about our struggles. I hope to never look back and allow God to continue to bring people searching for hope.
Well, I know I don’t normally talk about my church, but I thought this needed to be said. God wants us to move out of the way and struggle together.