Cornerstone Church. On a recent vacation my wife and I reflected on what we've seen as the joys and sorrows of 3 years of service. Let me fill you in on what I've been learning and seeing:
1) First, I am privileged to work with other servant leaders. What I thought were weaknesses in my first 12 months, I realize were mostly personality differences. What caused frustration in my first 12 months, I now appreciate. We've gelled as team because we don't try and do each other's jobs but do the best job we can with the resources God has provided.
2) Second, God has been so gracious to bring new faces into our body. Some are people new to Christ and Christianity. Other have a deep faith and history of growing in Christ-likeness. I'm always shocked to find that someone is growing or enjoys or feels at home and wants to serve with our church family. My shock is related to myself (I too enjoy and feel at home in this family). But I'm constantly aware of my own short-comings and yet I realize my face, my ideas, and my leadership are a major part of what shapes this body (praise God, I'm not the only influence). Thus, whenever someone makes this church their home, it's a pure delight and joy to my heart.
3) Third, I've have seen God's mercy time and time again. People have forgiven me for foolish and sinful words. People have forgiven me for leadership mistakes and rookie errors. God's been merciful to use me and the rest of my broken church family to minister life through the Spirit to one another. We have it so so good. God's mercies are new, apparent, and real every morning at our church.
So what's my sorrow; what's my disappointment?
My only disappointment in 3 years of service is that I have not been the pastor I want to be. I've not prayed enough. I've not been doing the work of evangelist enough. I have not listened well. I have not served well. I have not used my time well. I have not loved well. God has been merciful, and yet, I don't excuse any of my failures. By God's grace, my 4th year can and will be different. God provides sufficient grace (future grace) to lead me unto holiness and faithfulness. To this gracious God I turn for empowerment.