If you know me (this is Jesse), you know that I feel very strongly called to preach. That call was very clear – and while I was reluctant to step into it at first, I’ve come to deeply enjoy the experience of preaching. When I preach, I often sense the presence and the working of God’s Spirit. I feel like I am doing what I have been called and gifted to do. Eric Liddle famously said, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” For me, that happens when I preach.
But last night, when FCMC gathered for worship, I was there, but I did not preach. Kent did! And as pastor of this wonderful, non-traditional church, I am thrilled.
Now, Kent did a good job. He proclaimed the word, working on Matthew 13 and the Parable of the Soil. He talked about the process of going deeper in rocky soil. It was relevant for me. There are days when I feel like I’m getting harder, spiritually. I feel like God’s Word isn’t getting in deep. I needed the message.
But that’s not what thrilled me.
And it was cool to see a bunch of folks show up. There were many of our number who had schedule conflicts or who were out of town. But the room was full! And the singing was strong and uplifting! And we commissioned Emma and Lee to serve at Young Lives camp! I love that! It was a really good worship service.
And as thrilling as that is, Kent’s preaching thrilled me, more.
It means a lot to me that Kent preached. Someone has now stepped up to do that which, prior to, had been required of me. And Kent wasn’t a sub for me while I was out of town. He wasn’t a last-minute fill-in. Kent was acting as an elder who was answering the call to proclaim God’s Word. God’s Kingdom is advancing.
I am thrilled because it means that multiplication is possible. It means that an important part of what we do, celebrating in worship, can happen without me. It means that a foundational piece of a movement of mission and discipleship is more firmly in place. This cool thing we do can advance without me!
One of the greatest thrills for me as a leader is becoming unnecessary for the organization! Now, we aren’t there yet. But what happened last night was a milestone.
So come, Holy Spirit. Work in us and move in us and through us to advance your Kingdom! And thank you for what you are doing in Kent’s life and for his willingness to say yes to your invitation! Thank you, Lord Jesus! Amen!
By the way, next month we’ll be worshiping in Fargo Georgia as part of our retreat. Let me know if you’d like to come along. And on the second Saturday in March, I’ll be preaching again. But I look forward to hearing Kent preach again, of giving him opportunity to sharpen his skills! Hope you can join us!