I can recall many long, dreary road trips in our motor home, "Pilgrim I," where Corinne and I would say, "If we were ever to pastor a church again we think we could do it right!" Then we would shake off that type of thinking, wondering what in the world were we thinking about...Pastor a church again..yikes! We enjoyed our ministry of traveling and the thoughts of going back to "pastor stuff" wasn't really a great thought! So, here I am stationed in Florida smack dab in the midst of the "pastor stuff!" And.....If the truth be known, I'm loving every minute of it! So what is the difference?
Many years ago, actually before we began traveling, the Lord pounded into my heart the verses found in Ephesians 4: 11-12. You know the verses, the ones about apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. You've most likely heard many messages about them over the years. However, the emphasis from the Lord to me was verse 12, "Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the body of Christ." I quickly saw that the important thing was not the ministry people, but rather what they did. In other words I saw that my job description found in these "ascension gift callings" was not to do the work of the ministry myself but to equip others to do it!
I feel that one of the most devastating mistakes that the Church has made over the past 50 years or so is that of promoting ministers, of making the personality the center of ministry. I feel that one of the great culprits here is Christian TV and other forms of Christian entertainment. We have made our worship leaders recording artists. We make our preachers wealthy stars who seem to do no wrong. How often do we hear our friends say something like, "I'm going to the Holy Ghost Foot Stomping Conference in Orlando to see Brother Billy Bob!" Did you get that? To "see" the star?
Over the years I have watched the mighty rise up and I've watched them fall and when they fall, they fall big time!
So, Corinne and I arrive in little back water Citrus County, Florida, admittedly not the location to build a huge, world famous ministry center, and we find ourselves in planting a new church. We find ourselves in tons of new revelation in regards to God's grace and the question is, what do we do with it? Immediately we saw the need to teach things so that those being taught can teach the same. In other words, we made equipping the saints an integral part of our ministry. The results, in case you ask, have been fantastic!
I am currently going though health issues that have prevented me from ministering. Corinne, a powerful minister in her own right, is very busy ministering to me, and I'm blessed by that. The church on the other hand is going forward without missing a beat! Why? Because the saints have been equipped and they are doing their job very well, thank you!
So you see, I feel that one of my very important ministry goals has been fulfilled, that of leading a church where everyone is a minister and no one, especially me, is the super star! So when you hear me say, "I love my job!" I mean it!!!
Grace and peace!