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- My bag has a blonde wig, sunglasses, and boat shoes in it. Either I'm involved in 80's criminal activity or headed to trunk and treat. 9 hours ago
The air was heavy. Sighs were deep. The storms had battered and beaten every soul that walked through the doors. You could see it in the eyes of every life’s sailor. One by one they filed into the auditorium. These voyagers were weathered. You could see that their past and present were almost to a breaking point. In fact it was as if they did not, or even could not, look to the future, because the storms had beaten their ships of life. It was as if this harbor came just at the right time. Rest was on the horizon…even if just for an hour. In fact most knew that even though reprieve was momentary, they were going to have to get back in the boat of life and hit the waters again.
Last night some 300+ folks joined together as broken and weathered sailors of this thing called life. Our community of believers came together last night to simply worship. We sang, encouraged, rested, celebrated, and dreamed. If but for a few moments, their individual storms subsided. Every one of us brought something into that place last night. Yet, every one of us received the same thing last night—at least I hope we did. Amidst the storm, there was a calm. Some of us were in mourning, yet again, for another person who was taken from us sooner than we would have liked or imagined. Some were dealing with their past hurts and struggles. Some were navigating their present storms of life. Most of us were not even in a place when we could begin to think about our future or our hope. These ships of life came into the harbor last night battered and beaten up. But they made it to the harbor.
Yesterday was a long day. A good, but a long day nonetheless. Last night was our monthly elders meetings, which means I am typically in the office from 8:00am until roughly 9:00-10:00pm. After I went and worked out and grabbed a quick bite to eat I was back and ready to dream and pray with our team of elders. We had an incredible meeting where we started sharing new vision and praying about what God was leading us into next. There has been a running joke that no matter how hard we try, we never seem to get out of there before 9:00pm. However, last night it finally happened. I was pumped. I was going to get home before my wife was in bed and we would get to catch up on the day and spend a few quiet moment together before our impending slumber for the evening.
As I walked to my office to pack up my stuff and head home I noticed a purple sticky note affixed to my door. I grabbed it off the door and read these words, “Mr. Trevor, can a please get a prayer before you leave today, if you don’t mind. Thank you!! Chris from Jani King.” Now here is some backstory. A couple of weeks ago, on a Friday night, I was in my office waiting for my daughter to get done with a youth event here at the church. It is pretty unusual for me to be in my office late at night. Even more unusual, is when I get a knock at the door while I am here that late. That evening, that is exactly what happened. As I opened the door there was one of the men from our evening cleaning company standing there. He introduced himself as Chris and said that he simply wanted to meet the guy that he cleaned the office of each week. I immediately started to ask about his life and he shared with me that he had seven kids. He also shared with me that life was a bit of struggle, but he was making it. I invited him to come hang here at the church with us sometime. He obliged and said that when his work schedule changed he would love too. After that he went back about his work and I went and picked up my daughter.
I had just finished preaching at our 10:30 worship experience. As I do every weekend, I walked over to our prayer room. I love that room. It is very peaceful. It is calm. It is quiet. It is a contemplative space. I love that moment that I am in there by myself right before it fills with people who have prayer needs and life decisions to make. In those few moments it is a space I can breathe in. As a pastor, I love the moments you can swim to the top of life and catch a quick breath. That breath you take in prepares you to then turn around and help those in the undertow of life get some air too.
I had gotten my fill of spiritual oxygen as the wave of people hit. It was beautiful. One by one our prayer room was full with wall to wall people. Every walk of life seemed to be present. There were men, women, and children. There were young, old, and middle aged. There were people that were hurting, happy, and contemplative. It felt as if my head and mind were on a swivel for about 20 minutes. Everywhere I turned there were people needing prayer and connection. It was beautiful to see many of them get to catch some air too.
At some point, I turned and noticed a gentleman sitting in a chair alone simply reading one of the paperback bibles we had sitting on one of the tables. I also noticed that one of our prayer room team members was sitting in the chair next to him. Neither of them were speaking. My first thought was that maybe they were waiting on me to come over. As I typically do, I walked up and introduced myself to the gentleman sitting there. He returned the pleasantries and then said that he just felt as if he needed to spend some time just reading. I looked at our team member and he gave me the nod that he would stay there as I attended to other folks in the room. For a few more moments I was engaging with other lives that were needing guidance and prayer. As the crowd died down, I turned to see that our team leader had streams of tears rolling down his face. I quickly glanced at the man that had come in to just read and pray, and he too had a flow of water chasing down the lines in his face. There…alone in a room…together…were two grown men weeping.
Yesterday, I reprised a series of blogs from a class I taught to some Junior and Senior Ministry Majors at Dallas Christian College back in 2009. Here are a few more thoughts for all of us to chew on. Again, remember to play nice in the comments.
5. Spend More Time Working & Developing Your Strengths Instead Of Your Weaknesses- For the first few years of ministry I had people tell me all the time that I needed to really spend the majority of my time working on my weaknesses. So I did just that. I spent hours trying to be more administrative, more organized, more of a type “A” personality. The problem with that was the fact that I was absolutely miserable and became ineffective in the areas that I was actually gifted in. Do I think weaknesses need to be developed…? ABSOLUTELY!!! Do I think that should be your focus? NOT A CHANCE. I have learned to surround myself with people that are strong in the area’s that I am not and let them be passionate about those things. When you can truly focus on your strengths in ministry, you become way more effective in ministry.
“When you can truly focus on your strengths in ministry, you become way more effective in ministry.”
Five years ago I had the opportunity to sit down with a group of junior and senior Ministry Major students at Dallas Christian College. They asked me to share with them on the topic of how to make it in ministry. At the time I had only been in ministry for a little more than a decade. Now you need to know that I do not think I have all the answers and I sure as heck do not think I am qualified to teach on what it takes to make it in ministry. But, at their request, I gave it the “Ole’ College Try” in hopes that some of my life lessons from ministry would helped these incredible young men and women. I gave them eight lessons I have learned from being in ministry that I wish I would have learned sooner.
As I was reviewing these thoughts I noticed that in the five years since then, these principles have not really changed much. In fact, they are more true today than when I first wrote them down. If you are a pastor,ministry leader, volunteer at your church, elder, or the average church member, I would love to hear your thoughts. Remember to play nice in the comments sandbox! Read More