Monday, October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009

"But to each of us grace has been given." Ephesians 4:7

Yesterday was a day of celebration! It was a big time brithday celebration for a beloved 15 year-old - Fredericksburg Wesleyan Church!
We praised God for His faithfulness to the church. We celebrated the numbers that reflected the work of the ministry - 188 salvations, $3 millions plus in income, $150,000+ in money given to missions. None of those would have happened apart from the grace of God!
God graciously gave us two talented pastors, our founding pastor Gerald Rodgers and his predecessor, Joe Horrell. We celebrated them and honored them and recognized the grace of God expressed through them. That was fun!
But to make this significant celebration happen it took a lot of energy, effort and planning. I want to talk about that because I believe that as the church was celebrating its history in a public service, the church was serving behind the scenes. As the congregation was celebrating God's grace, His grace was operating through the giftedness of a hard-working team led by Emily and Colin and a few committed children's workers.
While the crowd was singing and celebrating, the few were watching kids, changing diapers, warming up food, setting up tables, decorating tables, transporting food, getting ice, and missing the big event to make the event big for others.
The grace that was operating behind the scenes made it possible to celebrate the grace in the big event. That IS the church! That is the Ephesian 4 model in action! The very thing we were celebrating was happening as we celebrated.
How appropriate that as we celebrate fifteen years of God's grace to our church, the very grace that got us to this point was making the celebration happen! I believe that was the real story behind the story. It took a great team to pull of this signature day in the life of FredWes! The very thing that got us to that day also got us through that day and it is what will bring us to many more celebrations of grace!
While we appropriately honored our pastors, it reminded me that even great pastors like we have had can't get the job done without a team. It has been my observation over nearly 40 years of pastoral service in a variety of church cultures that gracious lay people do more to make a pastor great than a pastor does to make the church great. God's design is for His grace to flow through the pastors and leaders to the people and through the people to the world. That happened yesterday! That has happened to get us TO yesterday! As that continues to happen there will be many more celebrations!

October 4, 2009

"It was He who gave.......some to be pastors and teachers...." Ephesians 4:11

God used a pastor to changed my life. After God changed my life, He called me to be a pastor. He has used me to change some lives. A few of the lives that he has changed through me He has called to become pastors. I think pastors are important.
On this day we celebrate 15 years in the life of Fredericksburg Wesleyan Church. We will praise God for His goodness and faithfulness to the church. There is no question He is most worthy of the praise.
But we also want to thank and honor the pastors who God brought to lead this church, especially our Founding Pastor, Gerald Rodgers. Gerald and Brenda came to Fredericksburg with little more than a hope and a dream. They came in the power of Jesus to represent the love and power of Jesus to people who had not known Him. That sort of faith, vision and courage deserves to be celebrated. That's what we will do! God gets the glory, Pastor Gerald gets to bask in it!
And we honor Pastor Joe Horrell who was FWC's second pastor. He and his wife Shawn were hand-picked by Pastor Gerald to bring new energy and youthful enthusiasm to the community. God used them to transition the church to a slightly younger and more contemporary version of itself. But the passion for worship and the desire to see lives transformed was true to the founding vision of the church. God used this gifted couple to transform lives and train believers that strengthened the church. Today we will honor them for their commitment and faithfulness. God will get the glory and they will bask in it.
Pastors are important and FredWes has been blessed with good ones. God has been good to us! We honor Him as we honor them!