A sit down with the pastor of a church of over 15,000...
I have to admit that the title of this post is a little sensational in nature however it is completely truthful. Last week I (as well as Fellowship Memphis campus pastors and residents) had an opportunity to sit down with Pastor Steve Andrews of Kensington Church of Troy, Michigan. Kensington has just celebrated 26 years of serving the community and building the church with well over 15,000 members across 8 campuses and has sent out 54 church planters all over the world. By most people's standards this would be labeled as a megachurch but Pastor Steve made the notion seem ridiculous once he shared his story with us.
Here are a few things I learned from Pastor Steve during our time together:
It is impossible for anyone to serve in ministry or do anything for the Kingdom of God without knowing who they are. Identity is essential to human flourishing and confidence. Having consistent assurance in who I am in Christ helps me clarify vision, interact well with others and serve the body well.
HAVE A CLEAR VISION:
Clarity in vision is one of the most important parts of being a leader in ministry. Pastor Steve shared a story of wanting to reach unbelievers and doing so in an unconventional way. Being clear in this and not submitting to every good idea helped him navigate exactly what he would spend his time on based off of what GOD had given him. As I am chiseling away at the vision that God has blessed me with, it is important that I make it clear for myself, all who are partnering with me and all who choose to serve with us to make it happen.
BE WILLING TO DIE FOR YOUR (GOD GIVEN) VISION:
A vision that you aren't worth dying for is not God given. It won't convince others and it won't change lives. God gives vision that alters what we know as reality. "DO NOT LAUNCH ANYTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE A CLEAR VISION THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO DIE FOR" - Pastor Steve Andrews. When Pastor Steve planted Kensington Church in 1990, he did so with 40 people... today 27 of the original core group are still serving in the body. Pastor Steve believes that this is because God has graced him with a vision that he is passionate about and he's able to pass that enthusiasm on to those he serves with.
There were a number of other things that I learned from Pastor Steve but I will end this post with this quote from him.
"All my life I've driven crappy cars and I haven't had much. I'm 60 years old but I won't have enough money to retire ... I don't even have enough money to put my youngest child through school but I have found the most joy in knowing that I have given my life to loving and serving God's people in the church.
This may be a reality that I live as well... but I know that God's calling isn't a comfy or cozy one. As I walk towards serving as a pastor and church planter, I pray that God sustain me in knowing my identity, holding tightly to the vision God has given and loving God's people.