This month (March 2017) marks 7 years since I responded to God's call on my life to vocational ministry. The time has flown by so fast, and I could have never known that walking forward for that invitation would have led to the following events that would take place in the ensuing years:
- March 2010 - Said "Yes!" to God's call into vocational ministry.
- August 2010 - Hired as the Interim High School Ministry Director at Crossroads Church in Fremont.
- January 2011 - Promoted to be the Full-Time High School Ministry Director at Crossroads Church in Fremont.
- October 2012 - Ordained as a Pastor.
- March 2013 - Transitioned from my role as the High School Pastor at Crossroads Church to the Lead Church Planter/Pastor of theMOVEMENT Church in Oakland.
- September 2013 - Launched theMOVEMENT Church in Oakland at Mills College.
- March 2017 - Prepared theMOVEMENT Church for its first major relocation to Elmhurst Community Prep in East Oakland to take place on Sunday, April 9, 2017.
Being that in the Scriptures the number "7", many times, represents "completion" and something being" finished," I wanted to take some time to reflect on the things that I am absolutely convinced of after 7 years of serving God in this capacity. If I was ever asked the question, "What has God completed in your life up into this point?", this is how I would answer:
1. MY CALLING IS SURE.
Though there have been many joys over the last 7 years, there also has been much pain and heartache. For me to even desire to continue to be involved in pastoral ministry after some of the rough experiences that my wife and I have had to go through, I must be called to this work! No one in their right mind would subject themselves to the spiritual and emotional weight and responsibility of this type of work if they had the choice to do something different!
2. MY WIFE IS A GIFT.
I could not have lasted seven years in pastoral ministry without the love, support, encouragement, and friendship of my wife through it all. She has celebrated with me during my wins, consoled me during my insecurities, and mourned with me during my losses. My wife is an absolute gift, and if I am ever put in a position where I have to choose between her or the ministry, I will choose her.
3. THE GOSPEL IS POWERFUL.
I have no job if there is no Gospel. The good news that Jesus Christ saves sinners is the news that initially saved and continually sanctifies me, and it is the only news that has the power to save and sanctify others. Time and time again I have seen the gospel penetrate the hardest of hearts and set free the most despondent of souls. There is no doubt in my mind that the gospel is the power unto salvation for everyone who believes!
4. GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY IS PERFECT.
Sovereignty to give blessing. Sovereignty to take blessing away. Sovereignty to provide resources. Sovereignty to withhold them. Sovereignty to grow the congregation. Sovereignty to decrease it. Sovereignty to bring workers. Sovereignty to remove them. Though I may not always like God's sovereign decisions, I have learned to trust them. In my life and in my ministry, God's sovereignty is my security because it is His will and His will alone that is worthy of my complete trust.
5. VOLUNTEERS ARE PRICELESS.
There is no church if there are no volunteers. But more specifically to my role as a pastor, I have no sanity if there are no volunteers! Volunteers not only do the work of the ministry day in and day out, but they free me up to focus on the areas of pastoral ministry that I am uniquely called to: preaching and prayer. Though volunteers may work for free, their contribution is priceless. I am convinced that if appreciating and honoring volunteers is not my priority, frustration will be my reality!
6. PARTNERS ARE INDISPENSABLE.
From day one, every aspect of my pastoral ministry has been supported by Church partners from all across the country. From the churches I had attended, to my sending church, Crossroads, to the Church partners who have invested in us directly, to the Church partners who have invested in us indirectly through the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program, without Church partners pastoral ministry would be an impossibility. There is such beauty in the unity of the Body of Christ, and I have, without a doubt, been a beneficiary of such unity.
7. THE PAYOFF IS WORTH THE PRICE.
The unchurched falling in love with Jesus and the local Church. The dechurched returning. The overchurched finding their joy in Christ and the local Church again. The city being served. Disciples making disciples. Marriages being restored. Relationships being renewed. Community being formed. Leaders being discovered, developed, and deployed. The payoff of lives changed is worth the price of a life invested.
Though there is much that is "unfinished" in me and my ministry, it is my hope and prayer that what God has completed in me up until now would remain with me until my life of pastoral ministry is complete and I hear the long awaited words of my Heavenly Father, "Well done my good and faithful servant."