Deeply Rooted in People and Place
Pastoral leadership is as much geographical as it is theological. It's the story of Jesus being written in the lives of a particular people in a particular place - with all it's local detail and raw unpredictability. The pastor's role is not to build a successful religious organization but to notice and nurture the presence of Jesus forming in the lives of this people in this place.
People and place. It took a long time for my soul to embrace the simplicity and power of location. Parts of my story bear sad resemblance to Jonah running from the hard realities of Ninevah to pursue a romanticized vision of life and ministry in Tarshish. So when leadership became too hard, too messy, the pace of change slower than I hoped...or when God chose to work in ways different than I had planned - the next ship to Tarshish held a strange allure and attraction. That's why coming back to Grace Church feels like a gift of such remarkable mercy. God has given us the privilege of returingn to the people and place I tried to run away from.
Last Sunday we had friends over to our home after church. It was a rich time of story telling - some old and some new - with long time members of the Grace family. We spent an evening with another couple making some important decisions about the future of their marriage. The conversation was comfortable and safe because we have years of history and friendship. I'm enjoying time spent with new families at Grace - learning their stories and how Christ has shaped them. People and place...the story continues.
Verna has a great way of describing the value of people and place. Bones. It brings structure, substance and stability to our lives. I feel like we have spiritual bones again. Our love for you - the Grace Church family in Fayette County - grows deeper with time. It's still hard, messy, slow and confusing. Home is not always as glamorous as some romanticized destination - but it's solid, good and lasting.
In my last blog I talked about the place of passion. My passion today is more simple. Love this people in this place deeply and well. Lead this people in this place to experience and express the life of Jesus deeply and well.
Fighting for your hearts,