I have been the Lead Pastor of Prairie Flower Baptist Church for over two years now. In that time frame, I have been stretched in some unique ways and have gone through many growing pains. I have also learned some unique lessons along the way, and I would like to share some of those with you:
1) God uses sinful, busted, and broken people for His glory. Yes, I’m describing myself in this statement and not anyone else. In fact, the more and more time I spend in the ministry, the more amazed I am that God would put me into the ministry with all of my sins and shortcomings. I still struggle with doubt, fear, and self-pity issues; but God, for His own divine purposes, is still using me in the ministry. Truly my sufficiency does not come from me, but from God (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).
2) People and circumstances reveal the lingering idols of our heart. I have learned that people and circumstances don’t make us do anything, they simply reveal what’s already resident in our hearts. Check out this list: the pull towards comfort and convenience, the need to be liked, the desire for increasing influence, and the longing for recognition. Yup. All idols of my heart that have been clearly revealed to me this past year; and God has used different people and circumstances to showcase these issues to me. I praise God for this uneasy grace in my life that makes me more like His Son – Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29).
3) The primary attribute of an effective pastor is patience. I am beginning to understand the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Thessalonian believers to be “patient with them all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Quite simply and plainly, people demand patience. I have learned that when it comes to conflict in the church, sometimes it’s a knowledge issue…sometimes it’s a cultural issue…sometimes it’s a personality issue…sometimes it’s a sin issue…and sometimes it’s a combination of these things, but to decipher where the struggle is demands gobs and gobs of patience. Yes, I have prayed for patience this past year and God has answered this prayer of mine with a plethora of slowdowns and speed bumps. Take it from me, be careful with your prayer life! God just might answer your prayers 🙂
4) My wife is still awesome. And I’m not just saying this to round out this list with a nice even number…I mean it. God has blessed me with an incredible wife and ministry partner. I have learned that the pastor’s wife (though not an official role or officer in the church) carries a tremendous amount of burden and stress. I thank God for giving to me a wife who is truly clothed with strength and honor (Proverbs 31:25). My wife continues to bless my life and ministry with encouragement, humor, and fun. Just last night she told me to “loosen up” and “just let it go”…and then we danced together…in the living room…most appropriately…but what an awesome wife I have.
Prairie Flower, it continues to be an honor to be your Pastor. I find it to be a most beautiful challenge and (at the end of the day) an incredible joy. Thank you for allowing me this incredible privilege. God bless you. I do love you guys. See you soon.