Ephesus is moving forward during the Summer of Shift (just coined that term!). But as I’ve stated before, that’s church planting! But we’re growing, good things are happening. A big evidence of that happened this past Sunday. As all the faithful reader(s) of this blog (thanks Mom!) know, our third child, and first daughter Reese was born last week. That being the case, it was the first Sunday I’ve missed Ephesus since we’ve started. I had a really good excuse not to be there, but it was still very strange for me. Instead of adjusting to the new person in the house, I was anxious about how Ephesus was going to go. Now understand me, I was not at all concerned that it wouldn’t work without me or that Jason wasn’t going to a great job (which I hear he did and awesome job!) or that the team wasn’t ready to take care of business. I was just anxious about not being there. But the team took care of business. Reports back to me is that everything went really well, the Ephesus team was on it. We also had the as many adults in attendance as we’ve had all summer. I also just heard from an outside source that some folks were there this Sunday and it was just what they were looking for. For a leader and a pastor to hear those kinds of reports from a church and team as young and as new as ours is such an encouragement to me. My desire is always that team will be developed and leaders released. I know I’m called to guide, direct, train, release and of course preach! But to really succeed, it has to be able to function without total reliance on the leader. I guess I’m writing this as an encouragement to myself, because my biggest personal challenge in life is that I’ll grow and expand my abilities as a leader. God deserves nothing less from me as I pastor this church. But at the same time I’m always trying to figure out what I need to do better and try and do it. I’ve been told since I was young that I had leadership giftings and abilities and I would do this and that; I’ve always said people only make that comment to me because I’m loud and obnoxious. Being a leader that is visionary, strategic, and effective is so much more than speaking well in front of a crowd. I’ve realized that about myself for a long time and am on the constant journey to improve and grow into the leader God desires for me. Sometimes that’s been painful, and many times I doubt where things are at, but fortunately (at least in some ways!) God also made me stubborn.
So here I am, reflecting on this young church that can operate without me for a Sunday or two and again I’m challenged to grow. If the team can do this then I have to grow as a leader to keep pushing them and myself so that we impact Charlotte with Jesus. I’m excited because I’m stepping out in ways to accomplish that. In just a few minutes I’m meeting with Tyler Jones at Vintage21 in Raleigh for the second time. I met him for the first time a little over a month ago after I was challenged by something I read in the 4 Hour Work Week (challenging on some levels, but overall I’m not looking to lounge around the rest of my life as hip as the new rich may be). It was one of the most encouraging and challenging meetings I ever had. So I pushed a little bit and got a second meeting. Rode the train to Raleigh today to make it happen. Can’t wait to see what happens. My questions are almost exclusively leadership related. I’ve been exchanging emails with Cynthia Ware, challenging me to use technology to expand my leadership and our reach while keeping the message central. Then at the end of September, Foursquare blessed me with the opportunity to spend a week with Wayne Cordeiro in Hawaii. Pastor Wayne is one of the premier church leaders in the world and he could be in the middle of Iowa and I’d still be excited about going (Hawaii doesn’t hurt). Then I’m turning right around and heading to Mars Hill Church in Seattle. This time I get to take Casey! Through all this I hope to get sharpened, inspired, humbled and pushed in how I lead and direct the vision God has given Ephesus Church for Charlotte.
Wow, God’s doing some very cool stuff, I guess I needed to write all this down to be reminded about all of it and realize how much He’s working. Why do we allow ourselves to be so blinded to His work around us.