I’m a ‘Short-timer’ at FBC. I’m also a workaholic. I must admit this creates a lot of dissonance. To handle the next month of Interim Ministry transition, and complete my ministry, I’ve created new style of work. I call it ‘Frenetic Spirituality.’ I jump from topic to topic, knowing that what I am doing is needed for the Kingdom, but can easily disrupt the work that will begin under Pastor Reed.
Here are three things I must monitor:
1. It’s easy to major on minors. There are a lot of details that can distract me from the big picture I have starred at for the last year. My drive to be busy can so easily be excused, with ‘I’m really busy.’
2. It’s easy to let go of dreams. While I only have 27 ½ days to go, I have 27 ½ hours to go! God gave me visions and dreams for FBC Olathe. He has not recalled even one of them. My task at hand is to keep the vision alive and make a path for Christ.
3. It’s easy to forget the work of the Lord occurs in a realm beyond the temporal. My prayers should not stop because I am preparing to leave. It will be less of me and more of Christ going forward. Humbling to say the least.
So here are the 10 things I’m learning. These are NOT new thoughts or lessons… but my current ‘Frenetic Spirituality’ is in full ‘teaching-mode.’ In my thoughts and devotions, the words ‘Teaching an Old Dog’ keep cropping into my mind.
#1 – The treasure is in the people. In the last year, I’ve learned that the strength of this church is people. People who lived and shared their lives together for a lot of years. The people we enjoy being with become the people we voluntarily seek to be even on weekdays. Church is more than Sunday!
#2 – The marvel that God chooses people. I am drawn to people who need help and amazed at the people God is pulling into our church. People who need help, are the people who remind me how much my life has changed and how much I need to be the bridge from where I was to where I am going. I’m oddly drawn to Thanksgiving this year – and reminded to say thank you.
#3 – Justice and love are two sides of the same coin. In my mind they’ve always been this way, but I see so many of my peers who see ministry as social work. Being social means loving people. I am learning, I am social because I am love.
#4 – Familiarity creates safety. As we have emerged from, I notice FBC is finding itself. We have returned to the familiar and I’ve been led to make things familiar. As new people attend for their first time – we have made people safe.
#5 – Safety creates stagnation. I look at FBC Olathe and our very human habits. If we have a cook out or a worship service, we tend to sit with those we know best, we’re safe. How do we meet someone we’ve never met at the door and sit with them? Too safe and we become a click.
#6 – Learning from God’s epic moments. We share five major epoch events in the church. Our best chance at seeing new people in church are Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July. I need to learn to get these epoch events on the calendar and plan 2-3 months ahead for our testimony.
#7 – When everything (and everyone) we depend on becomes something we can become dependent on it. We have 10+ people who spend countless hours making our church ready for worship. They serve selflessly. But when everything happens, it is easy to assume everything is covered and take advantage of those people. When anyone becomes irreplaceable, we have made a mistake.
#8 – Celebrate the gift of time. I do not know how to say, ‘Thank you’ and shout in my joy for the people who silently clean our toilets, mow grass, trim weeds, vacuum carpet, fix the myriad of broken things, answer the flow of email and postal mail daily, clean windows, scrub floors, sanitize toys, teach a class, or call on our shut-ins.
#9 – Hold tight to what I have. Time moves at a rapid pace. What a gift… we must be called His Body – The Body of Christ. From Moses Day to last Sunday, God affirms he created us to be a voice of hope and a promise of His future.
#10 – Let go of what I’ve got. I am (and all Pastors are) bound by a Code of Ethics, that requires I separate from the church. It is the only way the incoming pastor can ever bond as the leader. Letting go is not easy. You have been my teachers for the past year. Thank you.