In every profession, there are good days and bad days. Days that are more difficult and days that are easier. Too often, I’m afraid, we remember the bad days more than the good. We remember the slumps of the tough days more than the joys of the fruitful days. I’ve had many difficult days in ministry. But I’ve also had many exciting, fruitful days. Yesterday was one of those exciting days, and I want to revel in it for just a bit.
I started the day by having breakfast with a representative from a missions organization. Part of my role at the church is overseeing the process for onboarding new missionaries or mission-projects, partnering with them, and developing a relationship with them. I was encouraged by this organization in particular because they have a very healthy strategy for reaching the unreached: investing in indigenous leaders by training them in theology, evangelism, and church planting. They train leaders, start Bible studies in different towns and districts, share the gospel, disciple new believers, and help them plant churches. I thoroughly enjoyed discussing mission strategy and hearing stories of people coming to Christ and churches being planted in India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
I left that meeting and went to my next breakfast appointment with another discipleship pastor from a local church in our area. This pastor and I have a lot in common. Our jobs are similar, we graduated from the same seminary, and we are roughly at the same stage in life. As we met I could feel the sharpening effect Proverbs speaks of (Prov. 27:17). Discussing how we each lead and serve in our respective contexts blessed us both. We ended after an invigorating discussion on the incarnation and how the genitive functions in 2 Cor. 5:20. This meeting reminded me that local churches are better when they work together rather than in compete with one another.
After these two meetings, I had the privilege of sitting down with our senior pastor and discussing our first message on Esther for our Wednesday night Bible study. Each week we dig into the Word together in preparation for mid-week and Sunday messages. It is one of the highlights of my week. We worked through an intro to Esther and prepped a short study on how to read Old Testament stories.
After lunch, I met with another pastor and went over some of the questions we would be answering in front of our youth for an event they call “fishbowl.” Students are given the opportunity to write down any questions they want answered and put it into a bowl. We read the questions and prepared our answers in advance. They asked great questions like, “why can’t a person be saved by good works?”, “how were people saved in the Old Testament?”, “how can Christians love their LGBTQ+ neighbors?”, “where does it say that we should wait to have sex until marriage?” and more.
I worked on a few other things, went home, and returned for Wednesday night. When people started to arrive, many of them spoke to my wife, who had recently shared her testimony about our three miscarriages and on-going health issues at a women’s event. One lady even made her a quilt as an expression of her gratitude and love! As I watched these women encourage my wife, I saw the body of Christ in action: loving, encouraging, and uplifting one another. I felt so thankful to be right where we are.
I went upstairs and took part in the youth service, answering their fishbowl questions with a fellow pastor. We were given multiple opportunities to talk about the ultimate satisfaction that is found in Jesus, the exclusivity of His work, and the way to pursue growth in holiness and depth in our relationship with Him. We finished, I spoke with a couple of students, and then I walked downstairs to grab our kids, where one greeted me with a proud smile because he had recited his verse before his teachers correctly.
We went out for milkshakes to celebrate the night we all had. My cup was running over. When I arrived home, another pastor texted me and asked if we could discuss the trinity in the morning in preparation for his message to the young adults. I went to bed excited about the prospect of that conversation.
Whatever your role is, wherever it is, look for the blessings. Look for God’s hand. Celebrate the wins. Remember the good days more than the bad. I’m trying to do the same by this very post, so I praise God for an encouraging and fruitful Wednesday!