Thursday, June 13, 2013

Call Me Jonah: Reflections After a Year of Re-preaching

Just over a year ago, God resurrected my preaching ministry. Before he did, I had to find peace in never preaching again, and so 18 months ago I gave up on my preaching dream.  In that moment of surrender God said, "My broken, failed child, I think you are finally ready to begin to learn to preach." God put the Trenton Church of Christ in my path, an authentic and grace-filled community who managed to see Jesus in my scars when so many others only saw disfigurement. I am so grateful for this amazing church and their invitation to preach again. THANK YOU, TCOC!

I also have to thank Tim Woodroof, who saw Jesus in the mess. I heard Jesus calling me back to ministry through his gentle and honest words. Thanks Tim!

I have so much to learn and so much to change, but after my first year back I want to share a little of what I have learned, some things I do differently, and some things I try to practice.
  1. Every Sunday I am aware that I preach from God's grace and not ability, education, or experience.  It is a gift.
  2. I try daily to choose HOPE over CYNICISM. Churches can make you cynical and I know many ministers who are. I was one.
  3. I see Jesus in and owe my ministry to church members who work 40+ hour weeks at their regular jobs but then give their passion, time, and energy to the Church. They are the lifeblood of the Church, and TCOC has an amazing team of "owners" (rather than "members").
  4. I take Fridays off, and I mean completely off: no Twitter, no Facebook, no texting, no checking emails, no answering the phone. I try not to think or talk "Church." It breathes life into my soul.
  5. I give my time to people who are hungry for Jesus, new to faith, and have skin in the game rather than those who simply sit back, complain and object.
  6. I am learning that I tend to underestimate the power of preaching but overestimate my importance to it.
  7. Fridates! WIN! With the three boys in school, Mary Beth and I take Friday mornings to date each other. And yes, I still try to make-out with her every chance I can get. It has been wonderful for our marriage.
  8. Life is so much more than ministry.
  9. People are not as bad as we often make them out to be and not as good as they pretend to be.
  10. Be like a duck. There is a lot of water in ministry and if you don't let it roll, you will drown.
  11. I'm more convinced than ever that the Gospel really is good news and people do want to hear it.
And Jesus said, "Feed my lambs..."

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