About a year and a half ago God gave me a clear picture of a new approach to accomplish our vision for Tacoma. There was a lot to it but one of the things it required was developing a staff to work with who could give significant time to their areas of ministry oversight. There were 5 positions that needed to be filled and God has filled 4 of them. I'm not sure what his plan is for the fifth, but based on how perfectly he filled the other four, I trust that his answer will come in the right way and at the right time.
I just wanted to take a moment to give some thanks to God for these 4 answered prayers.
1) Donna Christian-- Anyone who came to worship with The Pathway before Easter 2012 knows that our gatherings were pretty interesting. I love worship. Often you would find me playing the guitar and singing (not pleasant for those listening) and then preaching. It felt like the "Bobby" show at times and I did not like it. We would often not sing at all and God used those moments to teach us the heart of worship. But shortly after God laid these part-time staff positions on my heart, he brought Donna and her husband Josh to our staff. Donna has been an answer to prayer. She has taken our worship team from nothing to a 5 member team. They are growing in their leadership and have done such an amazing job of allowing our church to sing praises to Jesus! It has been amazing to see God stretch Donna out of her comfort zone and to see him build in her a humble confidence that he has equipped her to lead. God has blessed & I am so thankful.
2) Stacie Hooks-- One of the positions I felt compelled to fill was a director of Intentional Communities. I needed someone who could passionately lead in recruiting and training Intentional Community Leaders. Someone who shared my Church. Different. heart that church is not a place we go, it's who we are. Someone who was not afraid to ask for my guidance and help but who didn't need me to hold their hand every step of the way. Stacie has filled that role and then some. I think her heart and desire to see Intentional Communities birthed and effectively infiltrate Tacoma matches my heart in every way. She has trained up leaders, written material, made hard decisions and has done a fantastic job. She has also taken on the oversight of our mission teams and interns which is a full-time job itself in the summer. The load that Stacie has lifted off of my shoulders is indescribable and has made it possible for us not simply to reach more lost people, but to effectively train them up in the gospel. I'm so thankful.
3) Jenna Jones-- One of the positions I was most burdened to fill was that of Kids Ministry Director. Our church at the time was mainly young single folks so there was no obvious person to fill this position. Despite the make-up of our congregation, I was under a deep conviction that if we were going to reach our community and our city we had to be able to reach and connect with children and their families. That's when Jenna came to me and said, "I don't know if you want me to do this, I have no experience, but I think God has called me to fill this position." She told me that she had recently been prayed over and the person had shared that he felt God leading her to work with children. She was skeptical but then heard of The Pathway's need. Jenna's leadership is a testimony to her faithfulness to God and the power of how God take "untrained" folks and use them in supernatural ways. Under Jenna's leadership we have seen our kids ministry grow from 6-25+ kids. More amazingly we've seen her disciple parents by placing them in roles that stretch them. We've seen parents disciple their kids simply by reading the Jesus story book Bible to them every night. God answered a prayer and I am so thankful.
4) Kyler Phillips-- I also knew I needed someone to fill a ministry assistant role. Someone who had a passion for people but a skill to handle tasks that were taking far too much time for me to accomplish. Collecting offering and partnership contributions, making deposits, handling reimbursements, answering phones, and much much more. Kyler, on top of her full-time job, has answered that call. No credit, no glory... no pay! She simply does things that need to be done and does them well. Kyler's first major project was to implement, train and make effective our on-line ministry network that connects and communicates with our entire church. She has done a phenomenal job and the use of this tool is increasing every day it seems. God answered. I am thankful.
I, like so many I'm sure, get caught up in the craziness of every day life and forget to reflect on and be thankful for how far God has brought us. It's not just that my load has been lifted by these faithful women. It's that our capacity to see kingdom growth and make disciples has increased and as a result disciples have been/are being made in greater numbers and the kingdom of God is growing! God answers prayers and I am so thankful!