To those who have followed my blog thus far, I want to begin with saying thank you and next, this blog isn’t going to be about me giving Biblical theology which is what I normally do.
To those who know me, you know that I love writing and I have some talent in that area. With that talent, comes the frustrating aspect of always needing to know what to write next. Combine that with my ego centered mindset and I find I’m overloaded with frustration-both in not knowing what to write but also not having a large enough audience that I can visibly see. Trust me, God is working in those areas in my life.
This week I wanted to share my personal journey with my readers though. As we close out 2013 and we enter into the New Year, I thought that this might be an appropriate time to do so. My journey begins at the beginning of this past summer.
I was serving as an Associate Pastor at a church in Springfield, VT. Now, I can’t stand Vermont, at all. It’s cold and there are so many hills in this town it’s beyond ridiculous! If you have ever lived here, you know what I am talking about.
Well, church wasn’t doing the best. Yes, we had a few people show up at our Sunday services but not many and there wasn’t much consistency. Now, I could easily launch into why things were like that but let’s focus on this-no matter if your audience is one person or 4000 people, the time and preparation it takes to do church is enough to wear you down. There is a seemingly endless list of responsibilities which include mentoring, counseling, meeting with people, sermon preparation, worship coordination, write, among other details which are all part of the calling. In the end, there is a lot of work to be done and few people to accomplish that work.
As we entered into the summer months, I was leading the Life Groups, on my own. I knew how to deal with the group dynamics and was capable of leading the group. The pressing issue was God’s call on my life. It wasn’t that I couldn’t accomplish what I needed to do but rather I had felt God calling me away from that area of service. Specifically, I felt God was calling me away from the church. I wanted nothing more than to be a faithful servant of his kingdom so I was doing what I could.
The Pastor had left to pursue a degree and spend time with family elsewhere over the summer and this actually opened the door for me to attend other churches. I was actually happy to have this opportunity because it was going to allow me to have some down time and seek God and also gain some insight as to how other churches are doing.
Well, it didn’t take long before God opened the door for me to take a new job which was located in Springfield, VT but that job closed the door for me to lead the Life Groups. I had been praying and I had felt God wanted me serving in the type of job which I had the opportunity to take and so I did just that. I got the job and left the Life Group but had encouraged them to continue meeting until the pastor returned.
After visiting a number of churches, I found myself drawn to The Journey Church located in Rochester, NH. That church was about 2 and half hours from where I lived but I still made the trip as often as I could. As I continued to attend, God reignited my passion for serving. As I walked through the doors of obedience to his calling, I sought ways of being available. I served mainly by encouraging people, most notably the servants who directed the traffic. I made it a point to encourage them before entering into the house of God.
As I continued to seek God for direction, he laid it upon my heart that he would release me into service in December. While I was initially excited about the opportunity to serve again, I wasn’t finding many doors opening for me to serve in a church where I was so far away from.
Due to location, I considered the possibility of moving away but after thoughtful prayer, I realized it was not quite time for that. I knew God wanted me to be a good steward of what I had so I began thinking about what I could do, here and now.
So, where do I go from here? Well, I began with the online blog. It allows me to hone my writing skills. I have no idea who reads the blogs and I have no idea how many people it influences. While I do have a plan on moving, that plan will come more into focus in the coming months.
God has reignited my passion for community and as such, I am taking the first steps into building community, right here in Springfield, VT. As early as last week, I have begun to meet with some local area pastors who are sharing their experiences with me. I have seen God begin to open doors as I have made steps to reach out to believers in the area.
Now, I admit that I am a bit shy and very quiet at first. In fact, most would easily label me an introvert. However, as the Apostle Paul discovered, one of the greatest aspects of grace is that it empowers people. To build community relating to others is foundational. I need grace, dedication, patience and prayer.
If you have read this far, then I am going to ask for your prayers. Here’s why: I’ve grown under two different pastors in my life who have excelled at preaching. There is nothing wrong with that either. However, that means I have learned more about the aspect of sermon preparation and exposition than the building of community. So, as 2014 approaches, here is my prayer request list…
First that I will live a life worthy of the calling I have received.
Secondly, that God is glorified by everything I do and say.
Third, that God will open the necessary doors as I continue to meet local area pastors.
Fourth, that God will open the necessary doors for a meeting location for a community group.
Fifth, that God will give me the boldness to step out in faith and reach out to others, in person, and build community.
Sixth, that God will begin to shape the vision and his plan for my life.
Seventh, that God will bring unity of Spirit and unity of mind to those who I interact with.
Eight, that God will allow honor to flow and that a culture of honor is developed in this area
Ninth, that God will provide the financial assets and the resources needed to accomplish community for his glory.
Finally, that God will continue to bless and move in and through the Journey Church and that he continues to be glorified there and as they move to their new location that the Kingdom of God is advanced mightily.