Sunday, June 17, 2012

Interns, Father's Day & a Break

Interns: Please pray for our interns.  If my calculations are correct they are on day number 11 and that is usually about the time fatigue sets in and enthusiasm creeps away.  Our four interns this year, Lydia, Sarah, Josh & Jack hit the ground running when they arrived.  Their primary mission is to help birth an Intentional Community at Summertree Apartments, where they are living, and help reach the neighbors around the Spot with the gospel.  How are they doing it?  Let me just tell you...

The beauty of their mission to start an Intentional Community at Summertree is that we already have two leaders in our church who live their.  These two leaders are missionaries to the core and their have already been plenty of seeds planted amongst the community members.  The second benefit is that another one of the guys in our church, a fairly new believer, is on board to help start this new Intentional Community.  The interns had a bbq for their neighbors last Tuesday and launched their IC on Wednesday.  They had several neighbors come and God is definitely up to something.  Please continue to pray for them as they take the gospel to Summertree.

The other thing their doing is trying to take the love of Jesus to the Evergreen neighbors who live around the Spot.  They are doing this in many ways but one of their primary approaches is called S.O.S. (Spot on Saturdays).  Every Saturday they are hosting a block party at the Spot and it's not about our church... although are people are welcome to come.  S.O.S. is all about the Evergreen neighbors.  We were supposed to launch with an outdoor movie this past Saturday, but in case we all forgot, we live in Tacoma.  You guessed it... it rained!  Not to worry.  The interns hit the streets with more fliers letting the neighbors know that if it rained, the movie would be indoors.  The movie was "Despicable Me" and the Spot was packed (praise Jesus)!  There were so many people that I had never met before.  We were able to invite them to worship, invite them to VBS next week and just flat out show them we love them and God loves them.

Please pray for our interns.  They are blowing my expectations out of the water, by the grace of God, but they are getting exhausted and need your prayers.

Father's Day:  Father's Day was wonderful for many reasons but I will share with you two.  One, I was reminded of how blessed I am by Jesus to have the wife and kids I have.  Kelli, Jagen & Rylan are a gift from God and I am in awe of his grace in my life through them.  I feel this way for many reasons... one of which is that they woke me up this morning with a huge slice of brownie fudge Cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory... yes, I am a fat kid at heart (and in the gut)!

The second thing I wanted to tell you about Father's Day was the most beautiful thing I could imagine seeing on this day.  Their is a sweet young teenage girl in our church who we have known for a year or so.  She has been growing in her relationship with Jesus and it has been so fun to watch from a short distance.  She has shared with our youth leader Laura and myself several times that she is burdened for her dad and wants him to know Jesus and come to church with her.  She has prayed and cried and prayed some more.  To be honest, she was the farthest thing from my mind when I walked out the door of the spot this morning before worship.  And then I saw her walking across the street with her father.  A beautiful picture of God's abundant grace and constant movement.  I literally worshipped right there in the depths of my soul.  I pray that this is the first step towards eternal life change for this father.  Pray that he comes with all The Pathway Dad's to steak night on Wednesday.

A Break:  Finally, pray for me as I take a much needed break.  I have attempted once a year to take a personal retreat for at least a couple of nights.  Kelli and I decided that now was the time if I wanted to get it in before the summer.  So shortly after lunch on Father's Day I headed to the Hood Canal for 2 days and 2 nights of prayer, silence, Scripture reading and planning.  Please pray that I make the most of this time.  Please pray that I don't procrastinate or get side tracked by the unimportant.  Please pray that I don't make this retreat so task oriented that I forget to just be still and know that [He} is God.  Pray that god puts a clear direction on my heart that will lead The Pathway into 2013 and that by his grace we would become a multiplying church!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Becoming a pastor...

I am a church planter.  The farther along I go in this adventure of planting The Pathway the more I realize that God created me to be a church planter.  Maybe more specifically he created me to be a missionary.  I love lost people.  I have a Master of Arts in Missiology for crying out loud.  I naturally connect with the unchurched, know how to find them and enjoy talking with them and helping them move closer to Jesus.  I love leading people to be the church.  I love casting vision and finding open doors in a big city for the cause of Christ.  I love being sent and helping others learn to live intentionally.

However, at some point on this crazy journey I became a pastor, a shepherd.  At some point when God started to bring growth to this beautiful thing we planted called the church, I realized that while I'm still very much a missionary and a church planter, I'm also called to be a pastor.  And boy is it hard... maybe hard is not the right word.  To be a pastor is to struggle with things that are heavy... both spiritually and emotionally.  Shepherding, overseeing, encouraging, counseling, comforting... it's just heavy, often agonizing and as far as I can tell, there is no manual.  I guess the point of this blog is to ask for your prayers.  I love being a church planter, but God has called me to be more than that.  He has called me to be a pastor that plants churches and I'm still very much a student in all aspects of this calling.

Let me tell you about today and ask for your specific prayers.  Today I spent time in the morning preparing a sermon, part of my pastoral role.  Teaching the holy Word of God to the body of Christ is an awesome responsibility.  Yesterday I spent time at Tacoma General Hospital with a family in our church.  The husband/father is fighting a terrible disease and had to undergo emergency open heart surgery yesterday.  Today I got to visit with him and his family and pray with them.  I had the joy and challenge of being their pastor.  It was such a difficult & sweet experience.

This afternoon I got a call informing me that our Kids Ave Director, a young woman who has become a part of our family, lost her dad today.  She needed to be loved, encouraged and at the same time needed to figure out how to get back to Texas while covering all her roles and responsibilities here.  I got to be a pastor to her as I visited her at her apartment.  My heart was breaking.

Then, right after we figured out how to get her to Texas I got a text that the grandfather of another one of our Leadership Team members passed away.  I called just to check on her, tell her that we love her and see how we could support her.  She was sad and struggling and just needed someone to listen and point her to Jesus.  Something a pastor has the privilege of doing.

Being a pastor.  I never realized how crazy the shift is as planter becomes pastor while remaining planter.  It's amazing really.  But it is scary, intimidating and lonely at times.  Your prayers are appreciated as I try and trust God to make me the pastor and shepherd that he desires me to be.  He is the head of his church.  What a joy to be an undershepherd of the King.