Solid Snippet Article #043
Celebrating Four Years
As I sit here on a Monday afternoon, after a great service yesterday, most of the time Iím too hard on myself. Most of the time I donít like to think of Sunday on Monday because I start to think of all the ways I could have done this or that better. But today, while that same desire for excellence is present, Iím so happy with how our church is developing. Nothingís perfect, and we havenít arrived yet. But God is doing some great things at New Life Assembly.
Friday, March first, I celebrated four completed years as lead pastor of New Life. This is my first church as a pastor. I spent six years in my undergrad and graduate studies, and God blessed me with this wonderful church of wonderful people to lead and to serve. When I first came to New Life, there was a wonderful interim pastor here who is still my friend, and actually works with me in ministry here. We made a great friendship out of that transition, which is rare from the stories Iíve heard.
The church building needed a lot of work done to it, and we made some wonderful improvements, like putting in a parking lot blacktop. Itís not easy maintaining a 135 year old building, but then and now I am surrounded by leaders and people who have great wisdom and donít mind getting their hands dirty in ministry and projects.
It hasnít always been a walk in the park. Iíve had my share of people coming and going, problems in this ministry or that, between this person or that, but God has brought me and our church through. I think the biggest thing I brought to this church was a willingness to be faithful to be here and be the best pastor I could be, and to bring a stability to a church with a stormy past.
More than anything, I have gained a great confidence in my preaching abilities. The sermons get better and better with each passing year. I have also grown a lot as a pastor, seen the way things work on the inside, and learned that leadership is so important to moving forward and getting, and then maintaining momentum. God has taught me that I need to lead better.
I have always felt that there is a correlation between my spiritual life and my character and personality, and the churchís. Being at this church has helped me to learn to be more assertive in leadership and preaching. Experience is a great teacher. Coming out of Bible college and seminary, while I had a lot of knowledge and good people skills, I was not used to the routine, or even knowing what to expect, as a pastor. But New Life has helped me to know my roll and give me the ability to be more pastoral. Iím not perfect either, and Iím still honing my skills. I have a feeling that Iíll be honing them for a lifetime.
From that beginning time in 2009 when I visited the church and went through their interviews, services and times to meet the people, it has been a good fit. My dad even mentioned that the pulpit is my size! I usually preach from the sides of the stage or below the stage because I was so used to all the pulpits being too high for many to see me in them. But the one at New Life is just my height, and I believe that even those little things show that God was leading me here.
So Iím starting my fifth year and enjoying it. Iím busier than I have ever been. Even though we originally had Sunday Morning Service, Sunday Night Service and Wednesday Bible study when I started, but now do not have the Sunday Night Services, I still find that this is more than enough for my schedule. It leaves me more study time for the Sunday Morning messages and the Wednesday nights. I hope that people get more out of the studies and sermons as well.
I may be a bit impartial, but I believe this has been a good fit for me and for the church. We mutually minister to one another, and that is priceless in pastoral ministry. I hear others talking about not being happy or having more setbacks than victories and I am happy that for the most part that is not the story of New Life anymore.
I am looking forward to what God has for us together. I believe that we have an exciting future, a God-ordained and Spirit-empowered future. We are growing deeper spiritually and we are growing higher in our praise. One of the things I believe we are about to begin working on is growing outward in witness and evangelism. I canít wait to see what God has in store. I offered my life to the Lord to do with what he wills, and I have never been dissatisfied. Hereís to a long and fruitful ministry as a servant of God at New Life Assembly!