Obviously, I wasn’t paying enough attention at our leadership retreat this weekend, since one of the sessions was titled “11 Things God does for Church Leaders” and I only learned 10 things, but I learn in obscure ways, and some of what I learned wasn’t even about church leadership. Some of it was about being a human being and some of it was about relationships, and, well, just read on:
1) More pastor’s wives commit adultery than pastors do. We remember the stories when pastors flame-out big time, but this is the reality. We ask a lot of our pastors. We ask them to be at the church all the time, participate in all our meetings and pray and read the Bible while they’re at home. We should, and probably do, pray for them that they will find strength to deal with all the church politics and crud we, the congregation, throw at him (or her), but do we pray for the spouse? Do we pray for their children? Are we, in short, ministering to their whole family?
2) I have accused God of abusing me. I have whined about doing too much, that God is asking too much of my time. He’s not abusing me. He wants to spend time with me. If your boyfriend or girlfriend or sister or brother or best friend were asking to spend more time with you, were asking you to come over to their house to share a meal, were asking you to help promote their non-profit, would you see it as abusive? I did. And now I don’t.
3) I don’t read the Bible the right way. I’ve been reading so that I think I know what God wants to say. I’m not reading to hear from God, but in order to presume to speak for God. Ouch. That realization smacked me upside the head. I was reading with an agenda. I was reading for tag lines and bullet points. I was reading to write, not reading to hear.
4) I’m not big on Mark Driscoll, he and I don’t share a common theological viewpoint and I think some of the things he says are actually crazy, but here’s something he said that I took to heart. “We can’t save; we can’t solve; we CAN serve.” The song in the program we didn’t get to in worship this weekend was an old favorite, “Will you let me be your servant?” It’s amazing what changes in a program when leaders take that servant approach. I can’t save people and I can’t solve their problems, but, I can serve them.
5) I can’t fake much energy on little sleep. Maybe that’s not a new conclusion, but I really didn’t get much sleep, and I paid for it: my acting abilities took a direct hit. I couldn’t muster energy to participate enthusiastically in retreat stuff, until I had some of Kristie Musick’s banana cake. Which brings me to:
6) Kristie’s banana cake makes all things better. We should send this stuff to war zones and front lines and the halls of Congress. I’m pretty sure that would possibly make point 4 null and void. This banana cake might have the ability to solve serious problems in the world. I’m fairly sure it has no power to save (except for depression – this cake could end depression), but our fellow-man, no matter how odious, looks better over a slice of heaven.
7) Scripture is about multiplication, not division. We’re not supposed to remain idle. We’re not supposed to grow moss. We aren’t supposed to lock ourselves in a cage, we’re supposed to go and make disciples of all nations. Jesus didn’t hand out the 5 loaves and 2 fish, he multiplied them. He didn’t watch as the wine ran out, he made more. I also learned 7a) I’ll be coming back to this idea in a full-length post. and 7b) unity and growth are contingent upon one another.
8 ) Messiah has a future story that can work. I jokingly called our future story a fantasy, but when we started reading through it as a leadership team, we noticed that we’ve managed to accomplish quite a bit of what the story talks about. This was an endeavor led by the Holy Spirit and what was responsible for attracting the attention of our pastor. This isn’t just a pipe dream; this is our future.
9) I like the people on our leadership team. I mean it. All of them. Many of them, I did not know before this weekend, but they are a fun group. They joke around but can get down to business, and even though I was the baby of the group, save one, I felt like I wasn’t relegated to the kids’ table (which would include me, the pastor, the music director and the church office manager – though that would be fun, too), or kept from adding my opinion. I’ve never felt that way at Messiah. I mean, if they can accept and build-up the weirdest person in church, they are ok in my book.
10) Lutherhill, in La Grange, Texas, is fun, fantastic, fresh and full of potential and life. If you haven’t donated to their campaign and are Lutheran, you might want to give it some prayerful consideration. This place was serene and scenic and sensational and I can’t wait to go back. The staff is awesome and the facilities are undergoing a massive transition. Now is the time to be a part of their environmental efforts for a cleaner campus and the brilliant work of bringing Christians together.