This past Lord’s Day came and it went. But not without God’s showing up in our midst.
On Saturday, I had the opportunity to teach a couple of sessions on ‘Reaching Today’s Millenials’ for the Colorado Baptist Association’s “Equipper’s Workshop”, under the umbrella of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. This event was held at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in El Campo, Texas, where Rev. Michael Moore serves as the pastor. I enjoyed meeting new people and being apart of a great team of teachers. IT is my hope for the people of Mt. Salem to experience this in the coming future.
Our worship experience on Sunday morning was phenomenal, from start to finish. While our Sunday School attendance has been waining since the Summer, I am confident that things will improve. I am sure there are probably some more innovative ways we could adopt to accelerate the growth of the Sunday School. For many years, Christian Education & Sunday School were my bread and butter. But the things I would do would completely change the entire landscape of what many know in our Sunday School, including curriculum development, taking out weekly reviews, etc. All of these things are effective in most settings. But 1) Pastors must choose their battles wisely. 2) Pastors shouldn’t be quick to change things simply because they know the change would bring numerical growth. 3) I am still learning the geographical and church landscape in the city of Victoria; and it is okay to be patient in learning. All of that being said…our Sunday School is effective in what we provide at this time.
From start to finish, worship was phenomenal. From the opening prayer, there was just a sweet Spirit in the place and among our people. It was evident, that the deacon who led the opening prayer had spent time with God the previous days. This simply affirms that the person who gives the call to worship sets the tone of the entire service. If he or she is bland, the service will often be bland. If he or she is routine and ritualistic, the service of often (not always) the same. If he or she is on fire or overwhelmed by the presence of God or moving beyond the usual….the worshippers will often follow suit.
Because of my experiences in church and as a pastor for a few years now, I knew at the beginning that this would be a great experience in worship, Lord willing. And it was.
I was led to take a break from my series in the Book of Acts; and shared from a passage in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 with the title: My Will, Life’s Thorns and God’s No. The Big Idea of the text is: How we should respond to the sovereign providence of God with gratitude, surrender and worship, even when God’s answer to our prayers seem to insult our desires. My points were that we should respond to God’s “no” with gratitude because I. God’s “no” and our ‘thorns’ protects us from the sin of human pride. II. God’s “no” and our ‘thorns’ move us from human provision toward heavenly providence. III. God’s “no” and our ‘thorns’ hallmark God’s plan over our pain.
While I was taking a break from the Book of Acts, little did I know that God said ‘no’ to my continuing the series in order to illustrate His providence, knowing what we needed as a congregation. Nine people came forward after the message, most came for prayer regarding things they’ve been dealing with in their lives. Some said, “Pastor, that message was for me.” I take no credit in this. There is no way I claim to know what people need. As pastors, we may study the people, and pray that God would reveal what they need. But only the Holy Spirit can get into the lives of the people with whom we lead. With that in mind, I am grateful that God would use me, us and the message He seeks to convey through me.
I am looking forward to a great week. Currently, I am in Jacksonville, Florida to support my friend and brother, Pastor H.B. Charles, Jr. at his Cut it Straight Expository Preaching Conference. I am certain this will be a great time of encouragement, training, preaching and instruction for those who seek to grow in the exposition and delivery of God’s Word. I so want to be a great preacher. In fact, this desire grows more each day and week. Please keep those traveling pastors, ministers, volunteers, staff, speakers, and H.B. in your prayers. Can’t wait to see what he has envisioned (I am sure for years) unfold; and a wife, family, congregation and leaders who support what I am trying to become.
The Cowboys won on Sunday; The Texans did not. The Saints won, but hey, two out of three wishes ain’t bad.
How was your weekend? What are you thoughts? I would love to hear from you.