Wednesday, February 24, 2016
This individual made a beeline to me after the service, telling me how much they enjoyed the message. I was thrilled. I felt like I could breathe again. Months of worry and fear, all of my striving to connect as a new pastor, melted off of my shoulders. I had accomplished MY goal.
It wasn't long, days even, when I realized that while I had accomplished MY goal, I had not accomplished God's goal. In my conversation with people from the church later that week, I learned that they had not connected with the message at all. They had no idea what I was talking about.
I had broken one of my life's major rules which says, in general, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." This, coming from one of the greatest philosophers of all time - Mr. Spock. (Live long and prosper!)
Was I in God's will during those early years of pastoring? Yes. Was there an anointing on my life? Yes. But, to be honest I was often, living and leading for the approval of others. A condition rooted in pride.
The dangerous condition of pride makes us vulnerable. We are tempted to take credit for when something goes well and the blame when something doesn't. Someone leaving the church felt like a knife through my heart - how could it not be personal?
But something happened in 2014 that changed EVERYTHING. On a flight home from a ministry trip in Africa, God begin stirring my heart. I was homesick. I missed Minerva. I missed the Tri-County area. I missed True North Church. I was and still am passionate about seeing an unprecedented move of God's Spirit here.
On that Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787, for 15-1/2 hours - God began revealing HIS Vision for True North Church A/G and the surrounding area it serves. Of course, my past mistakes caused some doubts and fears. But a month after our return from Africa, in a pastor's conference, I heard a message that confirmed everything that God's Spirit spoke to mine on the plane.
In December of 2014, I cast the Extraordinary Vision, based on Acts 1:8, to True North Church. And what God has done in us and through us as a church is, well, EXTRAORDINARY.
But something else has happened. God has changed me. God gives pastors a pastor's heart. They often love more than they are loved and when someone from the flock is spoken bad of, mistreated or abused it wounds us. Likewise, when someone leaves the church it wounds us.
But a pastor/mentor of mine recently stated that when the Vision leads, disappointments are far less personal. IT'S TRUE! When God's purposes, will and mission are front and center, everything else pales in comparison. This has completely changed my life and ministry.
I'll let God's Vision lead and enjoy being the me that I was created to be.