I just finished reading Gordon MacDonald’s book, “Ordering Your Private World” for class and I was struck but the following quote:
“Almost every pastor is judged on the basis of whether he/she has a vision. And this usually means a vision of how the church can grow, grow, grow. The pastoral care of the people – which for hundreds of years has been the aim of a church – is less important in comparison to the gathering of more people.” (Page 35)
I was struck not because it was a new idea for something I have never heard of before, but because it was speaking to something inside of me. Maybe it is part of my personality but there has always been a drive in me – a voice telling me to do more, grow more ministries, or get more people. I am not sure why that is and there is probably a deep physiological reason for it I’m sure, but it is there and our North Americian church culture doesn’t help it. I’m a creator, visionary and entrepreneurial by nature, all of which are qualities I’m proud of but I am prone to what Gordon MacDonald describes. That is my fear – that my drive becomes vision, growth and ministries rather then people. The Kingdom of God is not an institution, ministry or a human creation but people. I know that by my effort I can grow an institution and maybe even a ministry but I can not under my power or effort grow the Kingdom of God and that is what I am commissioned and called to do. I love people don’t get me wrong, but maybe like you, it is hard to consider successful what our world (and dare I say even some churches) doesn’t seem to consider important.
I just got back from Pastor’s Prayer Retreat and had a great time connecting with the rest of our church’s staff as well as my friends who pastor from other churches. The most enjoyable times at those things are the meals and even the times when I step out of the main sessions and have a good, hilarious and meaningful conversation with like-minded friends.In our trip we also connected with our good friends Derek and Cicilia and we loved it – hanging out at the Keg and laughing and just enjoying friends you can be completely real with. They are awesome!!!
This last weekend was my friend Mike’s last day as Pastor of Youth Ministries at our Church. I am saddened because I know they are moving and will miss watching “guy” movies (movies our wives won’t watch) together, chatting about heart issues and meaningless issues (including what happened the night before on “The Daily Show”) and working on ministry stuff together. This last weekend was especially fitting and sad as I preached and Mike wrote and played a song based on the message. My hope and prayer for him is that God will use these next few years as he goes back to school to sharpen his skills and soften his heart. Anyways, Mike, if you read this, you are a great friend and gifted pastor and our family will miss your family very much – God’s speed.
It has been a while since I have blogged and I wanted to start again by writing something about a conference I was at two weeks ago: The 2005 Canaada Conference. I attended this conference as a community leader (I am co-chair of a Parent Advisory Committee) rather than as a religious leader (clergy). It was an incredible experience to sit with and next to people that I don’t normal rub shoulders with (I sat next to an International Trade Relations expert, a Canadian water expert, a Canadian Historian, was in ear shot of Premier Ralph Klein, etc). It was very informative to learn about the issues facing Canada’s future including immigration, aboriginal issues, and fresh water (environment). I was most shocked to learn about the dismal state of fresh water in Canada and how much of that environmental problem is going to play into our future as a country.
But that all leads me to an observation I want to make and feel I am in a unique position to make it. Being in church leadership for about 9 years and active and somewhat informed in the area of Postmodernity when it comes to the church, I was shocked to hear the similarities between the dialogue of my generation at this non-religious conference speaking to the current (modern) generation of leadership and that of a church leadership conference. I heard young leaders (18-35) continually calling on older leaders to be more authentic, honest, and genuine. I was shocked but to be honest also saddened, it seems to me that when it comes to the non-religious world of “modern” leadership, they seemed to be entering into dialogue about it with emerging leaders and moving forward acknowledging the need for change and even renewal.
It was been way to long since my last post and basically my excuse is… I have been busy.A lot has been going on with school, work and life in general. It is hard to believe that Nathanial, my oldest, in is Kindergarden and Lucas has started Pre-school. And, wow – our twins are now three – where does time go.Anyways I will attempt to write something more detailed soon but I did add my recent article to my website. At least I have updated that.