Monday, December 07, 2009
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Yes, that's right, if you were in worship yesterday morning, this is the Christmas song we sang. It's my favorite. Coincidence? I think not. Call it selfish, call it pastoral privilege, call it leadership, call it what you like - here's the bottom line: I told Jamin I wanted to sing "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" on December 6 and he said, "which version would you like?"
Where am I going with this? No, I'm not on a power trip. However, one of the big lessons I'm learning as a church planter is that there are decisions I simply need to make - no questions, no consults, decisions made. It's necessary to stay on task. It's necessary to keep the ball rolling. It's necessary to maintain clarity about our vision and where we're headed. I was told many months ago that the job of a church planter is to "set, maintain and protect the vision." I'm starting to see that firsthand and understand that it means making decisions and also taking responsibility for all decisions (even those that weren't mine). As Truman said, "the buck stops here."
It's been a difficult lesson because the truth is I'm a big fan of team ministry and I work well in that environment. In truth, it's all I know and it's all I want to know. That said, even in team ministry, there are times when decisions need to be made with clarity and conviction so the whole team can then rally around and make progress in a shared direction.
Here's the caveat, and man is it a big one: all decisions, all vision, all purpose comes from God and God alone. The only way for me to stand up and lead is to start the day on my knees in complete and total submission to the One who is ultimately in control. What God says stands - no questions, no consults, no quibbles, no "but what ifs." When God says sing I shouldn't even take time to ask "how loud?" God says sing and it's mine to sing. God gave birth to Ashley Ridge Church long before I was around. The fact that we get to participate is a huge gift and an opportunity that can never be taken lightly, which means I need to be willing to act boldly on the vision God has set before me and before us.
The good news is that the vision for ARC is so much bigger than any one of us. I'm thankful for the opportunity to lead and I'm thankful for a team that has also seen and heard God's vision for our community. We move forward in faith and in the power of Jesus Christ who has already given us everything we need.