Since coming back to work, over the last two weeks, I have felt an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation from you towards me. It has been incredible! Thank you.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the privilege it is to be one of your pastors. Being back with you has reminded me of so many of the things I love about you, and, through the writing of this letter, I want to be sure you know why shepherding you brings me great joy and God great glory.
#1 - YOU’RE HUNGRY.
For Bible teaching. For righteousness. For more of what God has for your life. For more of what God has for the city of Oakland. Thank you for being a church family who isn’t satisfied with the status quo. God is glorified through your hunger!
#2 - YOU’RE HUMBLE.
In the way that you receive correction. In the way that you respond to praise. In the way that you request direction. In the way that you cry out to God in prayer. Thank you for being a church family who understands that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. God is glorified through your humility!
#3 - YOU’RE HONEST.
About your struggles. About your sins. About your shortcomings. About your doubts. About your disappointments. About your dreams. About the issues you see in the church. About the problems you see with church leadership. About the concerns you have with the way things are being done. Thank you for being a church family that prioritizes truth-telling over image-protecting. God is glorified through your honesty!
#4 - YOU’RE SACRIFICIAL.
With your time. With your financial resources. With your physical and spiritual gifts. With your homes. With your cars. With your comfort. With your sleep! With whatever you have that can be leveraged for the good of someone inside and outside of the church who has a need. Thank you for being a church family who consistently “picks up your cross” to follow Jesus. God is glorified through your sacrifice!
#5 - YOU’RE SENSITIVE.
To the needs of others. To the pain of others. To the skepticism of others. To the experience of a first-time guest. To those who find themselves on the “fringes” of our church family. To the cares and concerns of my wife. To the leadings/promptings of the Holy Spirit. To the moment. Thank you for being a church family who isn’t tone deaf to the Holy Spirit of God in you and to people that are around you. God is glorified through your sensitivity!
#6 - YOU’RE SUBMITTED.
To the Word of God. To the pastors of the church. To the leader of your ministry. To each other. Thank you for being a church family who understands that how we submit to each other is a reflection of how submitted we are to God. God is glorified through your submission!
#7 - YOU’RE COMMITTED.
To God. To our mission to overwhelm Oakland with love. To the ministries in which you serve. To the small group in which you participate. To becoming a praying church. Thank you for being a church family who does what you say you’re going to do. God is glorified through your commitment!
#8 - YOU’RE COURAGEOUS.
Through your steps of obedience. Through your willingness to have tough conversations. Through your interactions with those who don’t yet follow Christ. Through your faith to follow God wherever he may lead you. Thank you for being a church family is willing to leave your comfort zones for the sake of the gospel. God is glorified through your courage!
#9 - YOU’RE COLLABORATIVE.
In the way that you approach ministry. In the way that you solve problems. In the way that you overcome obstacles. In the way that you meet the needs of our city Thank you for being a church family who truly functions as a body—each member interdependent upon the other. God is glorified through your willingness to work together!
Thank you for being a church family that daily glorifies God though how you love God, love others, and love me! There is no other church family who I would rather serve alongside.
As long as we stay humble and reliant upon the power of God within us, there is no telling how God will glorify himself through us next! Buckle up. THE BEST IS YET TO COME!