Jul 11, 2007

alternative ministry

Today I was able to do one of most things I'm blessed by each month... hang out with other area pastors over lunch.

Keep in mind, I didn't always look forward to these times in other communities I've pastored in. Often in other meetings like this I felt pressed down and boxed in a bit... perhaps not on purpose by the other guys, but more because I was the young guy in a town of many older ministers. In other situations, it just seemed like it all was a good idea to get together for these meetings because "we were going to work together" - and yet nothing ever really got done. Of course, there were the competitive circles, too, where the top questions would be, "So what are you running these days? How big is your church?"

I struggle with that last type of gathering for a whole lot of reasons. First of all, instead of asking "How big is your church?" we should be asking "What kind of impact is your church having on people in your community?" Secondly, no church belongs to man... it all belongs to God. Granted, I know I'm being picky and I "get" what is often asked by this so I don't make a big deal to the person about it. But I do like how in the Bible we read not about "Paul's church" but about "the church in Antioch" or "the church in Jerusalem" - perhaps like in our ragtag group of imperfect Christ-followers we strive to say "the church that happens to meet in a movie theater on Sundays."
So because of my exposure to those circles of thought, I often go into meetings like the one I went into today eager and excited. I don't know your exposure to "pastor-types," but the guys I happen to hang out with in these times are some of the most sincere Christ-lovers I could ever hope to minister alongside of. I've had some one-on-one's with several of them, but really do enjoy the 90 minutes we get together at a local pizza place (Donato's, anyone?) for a no-agenda gathering of the minds, hearts, souls, and bodies (because that's some good food there... YOWZA!).

I share that because I'm very blessed today to know that God is up to some amazing things here in Medina... and somehow I have the very undeserved blessing of being a part of it all. When I see the same spark for Jesus Christ in these pastors as I sense within our church and myself, I am in awe of the great things ahead of our community. So much so that I'm forcing myself to prepare ahead against the tremendous opposition the Enemy will no doubt throw our way.

Wherever you're at on the globe, how are you doing in that leg of the journey today? If you're in Christ, you're not alone... you are in Connection with the Almighty God who stoops down and breaths into our lives as we allow Him, too. Throw in a congregation of people who are all taking their next step with Him (whatever that may be) and the movement is only getting started.

May that one slice of biblical truth combined with this little lunch experience of mine continue to fan the flame of your heart and those around you toward the Lord today... because lives and eternities will be forever changed simply because we chose to drop to our knees, roll up our sleeves, and sweat for the "least of these."

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (Jesus, Matthew 25:40)

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

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