Yesterday marked 8 years as pastor of Old Powhatan Baptist Church. I preached my first sermon as pastor on August 12, 2007 as a 32 year old, never been a lead pastor before, former student pastor, city boy, in an aging, rural church. Chesed was 2 1/2 years old and Charisa wasn’t walking yet, just short of her 1st birthday. These have not been the easiest years, but they have been the most fruitful years of ministry as the Lord (and His people) have poured out grace on me and my family. I love the people of OPBC and of Powhatan and look forward to many great years of seeing God do things we cannot even begin to imagine.
Here are just a few things I have gleaned over the past 8 years, either new things I’ve learned, or truths that have been reaffirmed… (Part 1 of 4)
- PRAYER is the heartbeat of ministry. Duh, right? But seriously, we all know this, but what are we doing about it? Not just personally and privately, but corporately. How much corporate prayer time is built into your gatherings each week? On the primary gathering time for your church, would a visitor know that you view prayer as essential to the work of ministry, to the life of the church? We have seen changing our focus on prayer as we gather each Lord’s Day, from a pastoral prayer or two to a time of concerted prayer as a body of believers (sometimes last 15-20 minutes if the needs are great)… we’ve seen a tremendous change in attitude, heart engagement, and power in ministry at Old Powhatan Baptist Church. I am thankful for the conviction of the Lord in this area and for the willingness to follow and to engage in this way by the people of OPBC. May the next 8 years see us continue to grow in our practice, reliance upon, and fervor for prayer.
- STRATEGY starts and ends with SUBMISSION. Vision is great, but submission is greater. I have had the privilege of meeting and knowing visionary leaders in the past 8 years. But, the greatest of these leaders has the vision of submission. Our strategies are fine… but our strategies are not going to win a lost world. GOOD NEWS! God has been gracious to us to give us a strategy to reach people… submission. Submission to our identity as DISCIPLES, not just cultural Christians. Submission to His Spirit: leading, guiding, transforming, empowering us. Submission to His Word: cutting, equipping, teaching. Submission to His commands: loving, proclaiming, standing firm. Oh, that the next 8 years would see OPBC and other churches and leaders more committed to SUBMISSION to Christ than to our STRATEGIES of growth.
More to come…