Yesterday, I had the joy of being a part of a meeting with pastors from around the region who are interested in planting new churches. It’s hard to quash enthusiasm when the compelling vision is sharing the soul-quenching news of forgiveness with those who do not relish a relationship with God through Christ.
Also yesterday, I had the great pleasure of connecting with two pastors in Radford, VA and one in Christiansburg. Of the Radford pastors, Bret Johnson leads a newish church – Valley Bible Church, and Chris McCrary’s *brand new* church officially launches this Sunday – Love Church. I connected with Chris at Starbucks before meeting with with the Southern Baptist regional pastors. (Chris would want me to clarify that he’s not a part of the SBC.) I met Bret that evening after he shared about “The Church” at Virginia Tech’s Cru worship gathering. Tim Hight is the pastor at GraceLife Baptist Church in Christiansburg. Our daughters are the same age and have played Upward Basketball together.
Although neither Bret nor Chris are part of my church’s tribe of Southern Baptists, that’s pretty irrelevant to me when I encounter men who are joyfully and genuinely serving and introducing others to Jesus. One of the hopes that our church has is to network with other churches with similar ministry DNA and who clearly see benefits behind cooperative effort.
One significant requirement for leaders who wish to see a movement of God in their geographic area is one of the hardest to attain. It’s humility. Any attempt to “own” or force a work of God ultimately falls short. We’re not in charge.
Scott McKnight says:
Humility, I am suggesting, is a comprehension of who we are before God and before self and before others and before the world. When we know who we are before God, self, others, and the world, we are humble — and part of that comprehension is our cracked-ness. But, focusing on our cracks does not inevitably produce humility. Humility is a positive; sinfulness is a negative. We need to move beyond the negative to the positive if we are to have humility.
Humility is noted by joy, and graciousness, and love, and honor and the like.
It’s discomforting to me to constantly discover within undercurrents of self-satisfaction. They are dangerous to the soul that should be rooted in Christ. These undertows are more powerful than we realize, because in a moment, we can be sucked out to the sea of self-consummation.
That’s why networking and genuine friendships in ministry are essential. I truly believe it’s urgently important for pastors to cultivate open, honest relationships with leaders outside their church. We need one another. As we share, celebrate and whine together with other leaders, we are reminded that the Church is His and not ours.
What is possible when the people of God humble themselves and seek His face is beyond estimation.