20 November 2012

A Follow Up to "What I Wish My Congregation Knew"

I got a lot of feedback from people on my post of yesterday about "What I wish my congregation knew about me." Thank you to everyone who wrote.
       As I read the comments from some very dear people in Amsterdam who were part of Crossroads when I pastored, I remembered something akin to the book, "It Takes a Village" to raise a child.
       That is, "It Takes a Community" to raise a pastor! When I became a senior pastor in late 2000 I was thoroughly inexperienced in doing so. In my first months pastoring the church I used to "hide" under the staircase at the school between services because I did not want to relate to people. I just wanted to lead and teach, but not relate!
       Then one day one of my elders came to me and said something like, "Brian, you have to come out from under the stairs! You have to relate to people, you are their pastor!" That just freaked me out!
       My point is that communities of faith shape their leaders as much as leaders shape the communities. (And slowly, I learned to relate to people on Sunday mornings between services.)
       One of the things that dramatically shaped my thinking about being a pastor in Amsterdam was the incredibly dedicated people who SERVE in quiet ways. We moved into another school building after a couple of years and we had to set up chairs and children's classrooms every week. Once every 6 weeks we could not set up on Saturday evening so a bunch of people came in at 6am on Sunday to set up! Yes, 6am!
       You know what my first thought was when I realized that we would have to do that? These people are sacrificing this much and I am thinking about quitting??? Grow up, Brian!
       The second thing I thought was that I wanted to help them set up the church, or cook breakfast for them. Or something!
       Much has been made by people about me coming to the church early to help set up. Let me clarify my motivation around that. I did it for two reasons. First, I wanted to be part of a community of people who actually serve sacrificially and do it joyfully. The folks who set up Crossroads Church taught me a TON about humility and servanthood.
       Second, I did not want to think of myself more highly than I should (as the apostle Paul says). It is far too easy as a pastor to believe the applause and accolades that people give to you. Working with people who serve at 6am helped me keep a good perspective on myself and on the community I was part of.
       To those men and women - Szabolcs, Maarten, Johan, Sonya, Harold and others whose names slip my mind now - thank you for helping to shape a leader into pastor, and hopefully into a servant.

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