I asked Dave Barrett, our Pastor of Operations, out to coffee so I could ask him some questions about executive leadership. Something I’ve been thinking through is that I’ve found one of the most enjoyable areas of ministry for me has been in the operations, planning, and strategy side of things. For example, if I’m talking with someone about a big project or initiative, if that person is all about the vision and big idea, I’m all about how to make that happen.
So I grilled Dave for about an hour and he graciously gave me a wealth of advice and wisdom that he’s gained from years as an executive pastor. Here’s a separate post about what I learned.
Rest & Sabbath
Back in January, a friend of mine asked me over lunch, “what’s the most exciting thing in your life right now”? My answer was that I was so looking forward to a weekend of camping with Bryn. He asked why, and my answer was that I was just exhausted – burned out – and I had to rest. Don’t get me wrong, I love camping for it’s own sake, but I needed time and rest away from everything and everyone. I hadn’t been resting well, or really taking much of a Sabbath at all, and it was taking its toll. My heart was tired, and reaching empty on my love for what I’m doing and whom I’m getting to shepherd.
Thankfully, God is always faithful to work through the rhythms and commands he gives us. They are for our good! We took that weekend camping, got some time away (we barely saw another human for at least 2 days), and found rest. I took some extra time later that week to carve out time away, and time near the Lord, and it’s helped so much. My heart over the last 2 weeks has been encouraged, more loving, and much more ready to continue in faithfulness to my time here.
Growing in Hospitality
Bryn and I got the chance to host a visiting pastor for a week at our place. It was a really fun time to be able to open our home that way and love a guy who we haven’t met before. I think it was encouraging for us because at the end of the week, we weren’t worn out from having someone in our home for so long, and in fact we were both really energized and thankful. I was thinking how being hospitable is one of the qualifications for an elder, and how I want to grow in that area. This was a really enjoyable step forward towards that.
I spent a few days as a fly on the wall as a group of visiting pastors came and learned from one of ours. I took away a new and incredibly helpful view on how to develop leaders. Read about that here!
We had another preaching lab in February, and were assigned to preach on 2 Kings 5:1-16. I learned yet again that while my sermon (it’s content, thesis, application) is faithful and solid, my voice in preaching has a lot of room to grow. I wrote more on that preaching lab in a separate post, which you can read here.
Heart for the Nations
We had Andy Kampan, a mobilizer in our church, speak to us about having a heart for the nations. What that means is having a desire to see all peoples hear the name of Jesus and come to worship him. Through that discussion I learned some helpful things about how to bring others along to reach people in your own city.
What I really took away from that time though was realizing that there’s a gap between my desire for this, and where I think God wants my desire (and all of our desires) to be. Meaning, my heart for all peoples to know Jesus isn’t as big as it could or should. I asked Andy how I can start investigating that, and how I could take some first steps in growing that desire. Here’s what he said:
- Take a Perspectives Course. This is a class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Bryn and I have already talked about doing this over the summer when things slow down a bit.
- Go eat at foreign restaurants, meet new people and see how you feel towards them. Meeting different people is often the way that God gives you a heart for a particular people group.
- Pray together and ask God to show you if he wants you to go to an unreached people, ask him to give you a heart for it, show you scripture to convict you of it.
- Consider joining a Goer Missional Community.
Perspectives is going to be our first step, but I’m going to keep praying (and you can pray with me) for God to basically do whatever he wants to do in me, with me, and through me. If that means going to the nations or staying here, I want to be submitted to him.
Fighting for Holiness as a Community
My response to a sermon about fighting for holiness through thankfulness, and how I think this can (and should) be done as a community. Read the full post here.