This past Sunday marked my 6 year anniversary of being at Farmington Baptist Church. In many ways I can’t believe it has been 6 years (that’s a lot of sermons) and in other ways I can tell I’ve been there for 6 years.
The truth is the 6 year mark – marks the longest I have ever served as a pastor of a church. That is exciting and I am starting to understand somethings experientially. Here are a few of those things…
1. God causes a church to grow. It’s not how much you pray, how dedicated you are to study, it’s not even about the connections you make with people. It is God. Should we be faithful? Yes, should we study? Yes. Should we reach out to share the gospel? Yes. Should we build systems to help facilitate growth? Yes! But those things do not grow a church. God does, it is up to Him and Him only.
2. Sermon planning is a key component in keeping up in ministry. Yes, knowing what you are going to preach ahead of time takes the pressure off of trying to figure that out on the spot. The ministry already has plenty of pressures… don’t add some of your own.
3. People do not always do the right thing. And I’m not speaking of the right thing according to me (that’s another story not worth writing about) I’m talking about living basic biblical principles. At the end of the day people will do whatever they want to do, and if its following God they will do that with all their might, if it is doing “whatever” it is they want to do that’s against the scriptures, they will do that with all their might and make it look like God is with them. Some have even tried to make me feel like I was wrong, but it does’t work because I didn’t write the Bible and I’ve been at this long enough to understand it’s not me they are rejecting. My job isn’t to change them, my job is to proclaim God’s truth… nothing more. However, back when I first started, I did not realize how often my heart would break for people who choose to run from God.
4. I am not a spiritual as I thought I once was.
5. God honors you when you put your family first, when they are your top priority and the church is second.
6. There is more truth in the Bible than I realized when I started and the truths are deeper than I imagined.
7. You are behind sometimes in what you want to do… and that is just the way of things.
8. The people in my ministry over the past 20 years that have given me the most trouble, were actually placed there by God to break me so His Spirit could take control of my life. It doesn’t make what they did right, but I needed their harshness to learn how to rely on God rather than myself. Don’t underestimate those people who give you trouble as a pastor. God has a purpose for them and it’s always about how He is using them to make you into a pastor He can use more effectively.
9. Music style is not that important, what is important is doing things to the best of your ability for the Glory of God.
10. It’s really all about Jesus. A statement that even if it is considered to be a cliche is still a very powerful cliche.
I’m looking forward to serving at this church (Farmington Baptist) for the rest of my days. I’m glad and thankful He has placed me here.