boyradd

Forgiven…Loved…..Transformed!

Archive for the tag “elder”

Forward to the Future

God is working a new thing.

Isaiah 43:18-19 – “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

A couple of months ago I started interviewing for a position as a pastor at a local church. Ever since graduating seminary I have desired to follow the call to pastor. I’ve applied a couple different places since graduating, but pretty much all of them said I was either too old to lead the next generation or that I don’t have enough ministry experience.

Then, a couple months ago, Friendship Community Baptist Church (fcbc.church) reached out to me to interview for their Associate Pastor position.

I went in for the first interview. Afterward my wife asked how it went. I told her that I wasn’t sure, but it is in God’s hands.

Imagine my shock when they called me back for another interview!

During that interview they asked me to elaborate on a few things that I brought up in the questionnaire that I filled out. One of those things, my views on women in ministry, was a point of question.

Throughout the next couple of interviews, that was something that was foremost in the questioning.

Suffice to say, we agreed that we aren’t too far off with regard to our theological views of women in ministry and, where we are in our individual and corporate views, we are able to still work together because, at the end of the day, this is one of those items that isn’t of significant eternal value. Many in the room had differing views, but what we learned throughout the process is that while we have differing views in certain small things, we are able to come together to impact the important things, such as bringing Jesus to Anne Arundel and Calvert counties in Maryland.

After these rounds of interviews I told my wife that everything is in God’s hands and we’ll have to see if this is a case of Paul trying to go into Asia or if this was going to continue to move forward.

The next interview involved both my wife and I meeting the senior pastor and his wife. It was a great meeting and I asked my wife to be brutally honest when asked questions. I am happy to say that she was.

Again, afterward I said that everything is in God’s hands and we waited.

Then there were more interviews and they started preparing me for the congregational interview. Also during this time the position changed and I needed to determine if my ego would kick in or if I would simply desire to be where God was going to place me.

You see, the position changed to a non-ordained role. Everything else is the same, but the ordination wasn’t going to be immediate. It is a Director of Ministries role that will hopefully, God-willing, lead into the ordination later.

1 Timothy 5:22 – Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone as an elder, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

I remember when I graduated seminary I desired so much to become an ordained pastor. It actually drove me so much that it must have internalized as an idol.

When this position changed, I struggled for a little while. I needed to go to my mentors and accountability and ask how I get past my idolatry.

It wasn’t until I remembered something that God had said to me a while back that I was able to see this as it is, a blessing.

God said to me, “If I were to have a HUGE revival and an awakening happen in your area, would you be as excited about supporting it if I didn’t choose you to lead it?”

That was painful to hear.

But it took one of my mentors to say to me to not focus on the word “you” in that question. Focus on the phrase “revival and awakening in your area.” See the blessing in the fact that God is about to have a revival in Southern Maryland!

2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

When my mind started focusing on the blessings rather than myself, I was able to see this role as a tool in God’s shed. The rod in Moses’ hand. The Thaddeus of the disciples instead of the Peter.

When the church offered me the role pending the congregational vote, I was excited! God may not need me to be the next Platt or Greear or even Pastor Pat (my pastor the last 16 years) or Pastor Robert (my new pastor beginning today), but God needs me to be in the role that He is putting me in.

I got the word on Sunday afternoon that I was voted in.

I start Wednesday!!!

I can’t even tell you how excited I am to know that God is doing a new thing in my life! I had become so comfortable in the church I have been in for the past 16 years that I was not growing as much anymore. If we aren’t growing, then we are not becoming more like Christ.

It is time to take the leap. To realize that discomfort is a tool of awakening.

It won’t be easy. Satan will attack me and my family.

But God….

My God is much bigger than Satan. My God is much bigger than my fears. My God is much bigger than any position I can ever hold in any church anywhere.

My God is the end all and be all of my faith – a faith that continues to grow as I lean on Him to provide for my every need, personal, family, and professional.

Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Next week I will talk about one of my fears that I have as I move into this role of Director of Ministries.

On Becoming an Elder

Acts 14:23 – And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

Last week I was ordained as an elder at my home church along with another man.  My parents were there, my kids were there, my girlfriend and her kids were there, and a church full of friends were there.  It was humbling.  The part that was the most humbling is when I looked around at the group of men laying hands on me, I realized just how deep and wide their ministries and spiritual fruit goes.  Our head elder is such a tender and quiet-spoken man of faith whose ability to mentor other Christian men is amazing.  We have another elder who is an itinerant pastor at a church about 40 miles from us.  Another man runs our recovery ministry.  And that is just a couple of the men!  I could go on about the rest of the nine men who make up the elder council, but it would be nine stories of the same….strong men of God who have blessed me over the past 10 years I have been attending CCF.

Blessed by these men!

Blessed by these men!

Revelation 11:16 – And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God

Along with the elders, another man was ordained with me as an elder.  This man is older and his knowledge of the Bible and his heart for God is such a blessing to me.  I look at what people have said about him and his spiritual fruit and think to myself, “Wow!  How do I fit in to this group?”

The two of us

One thing is consistent with all these men.  They have not let the title of elder become a reason to say “I’ve arrived.”  The servant hearts of these men is so evident.  Their ability to speak Christ, love Christ, and bring others to conversion just amazes me.  I blessed to be a part of this group of men.

After the service, during the altar call, the other new elder and I were standing together at the front of the church talking when a mom walked up with her 12-year old daughter.  The little girl came up to us and said, “I want to give my life to Christ.”  I melted.

Acts 16:5 – And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

The wide eye innocence in this girl’s eyes and her fear of coming forward reminded me of how I felt when I was 12 and gave my life to Christ.  She was in tune to what we were saying to her.  As we prayed and asked her to repeat what we said, I could see in this little girl the fear melting away and being replaced by peaceful confidence.  Again, I remember that feeling when I was 12 just following my conversion to Christ.

The little girl brought her friend with her.  I saw the mom and the two little girls a little later after the service and she explained that the other little girl was inquiring about becoming a Christian.  Again I melted.

God gave me a gift on Sunday.  Not only did He allow me to become an elder at Chesapeake Christian Fellowship, but he showed me a glimpse of what happened when I was 12.  He shared with me His heart for the children and showed me just what our church’s future will look like.  It will look like this little girl.  It will look like fear being replaced by peaceful confidence.  It will look like the eyes of Christ.

After leaving the church, my girlfriend, parents, and 4 crazy kids all went to lunch and enjoyed each others’ company.  We prayed.  We talked.  We tried to keep the kids from starting a food fight in the middle of Ruby Tuesday.  It was amazing to just celebrate what God does in people’s lives to turn us around from broken and needing to filled and on fire.

What it looks like to feel loved. :)

What it looks like to feel loved. 🙂

Wow these kids are crazy!

Wow these kids are crazy!

I do have a prayer request for everyone.  Please keep me, my family, and my girlfriend and her family in prayer as we navigate the future in Christ’s name.  Please pray for God to protect me from Satan as He uses me in the role of elder.  Pray that God keeps me true to the verses below.  Thank you for the prayers.

1 Timothy 3:1-13

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

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