Tag Archives: church

A Farewell…

So the story goes a little like this…

10 years ago or so, I remember leading worship at a youth gathering event in our area where 150+ students came together for the sole purpose of worshiping Jesus under one roof, no matter the denomination. It was around the time in modernism where you would see evangelical ecumenicism a little more often. Either way, it was a good thing. The church that the gathering was held in was a United Methodist Church, from the outside, you would usually expect a totally different vibe, but it was surprisingly refreshing. I guess I thought there would be lots of robes, candles and wood.

Anyway, that night I had the pleasure of meeting Melinda, the youth pastor who spoke at the event for the evening as she was in the rotation to speak. I didn’t think she would remember me since at the time I probably sounded like an underdeveloped guitar player who ‘thought’ he could sing. (Side note. I actually listened to a song the other day that I wrote back then, that if it ever got leaked, I really don’t know what I would do. It is one of the most awful things I’ve ever heard. For those of you who may have a copy, please burn it.)

Years pass, and along the way I am able to build more connections with pastors across the city and more specifically with First United Methodist Church via the Music Minister at the time and Melinda through city-wide youth pastors meetings. The opportunity had arose at FUMC to apply for a new role at the church for professional staff to develop the growing contemporary music ministry at the church. I thought “nah… I don’t have a masters, so I won’t even try.”

Any-who… This was a very difficult season for me and my family five years ago that I wasn’t sure at the time how things would pan out, and out of the blue I get this call from Melinda. She says, “dude, I put in a good word in for you, please apply. You’re really what the church is looking for, at least start the process…”

After that, honestly, my first question was like, “I don’t think I could work at a Methodist church, aren’t they like theologically liberal and won’t I need to play the organ and stuff?” I remember her replying with… “this place is different, just apply man…”

The Staff…

So I applied, did the interview, and got the job. Thank you Pastor Craig Curry and FUMC Staff Committee circa 2009 for giving me a shot at it, I don’t know if you all realize that this big shift made waves for my growth and future as a pastor. I still can’t believe I got it, I wasn’t ready in so many ways, but through the strength of The Spirit, He carried me through  journeys that I will never forget. It would take me too long to describe the valleys and mountain-tops of working and being so trusted to pastor so many people through tears, counsel, prayer and through leading worship.

Over my time at FUMC there has been staff that have come and gone and a few that have stayed. The main-stay through my tenure has been Melinda. What a good friend and partner in ministry you’ve been. From worship planning, Tuesday’s tear-filled prayer, outreach and mission; everything seemed to be in sync. Thank you for your patience with me. So sorry I have to say good-bye in this functional capacity, but if you ever need a wild badger delivered in a manger in your office, please let me know… (inside joke…)

Thank you Pastor Dave for being a patient and prayerful man. Every time you would leave the office to pray, it was so encouraging to me as a young man in ministry to see that diligence. You have been able to navigate our church through some difficult seasons, thank you for that. I will miss our impromptu prayers sessions, your leadership will not be forgotten.

The People…

About a year ago we started community groups at FUMC. I don’t if any of us in our group expected to see such life-giving moments of nitty-gritty christian community. Every week in our home was more than worth it, we couldn’t wait to see every single person every week. It’s been so amazing to see work by The Spirit in people’s stories and lives. Thank you so much to those who have trusted so much of your time and energy to see what God can do when we are mindful about His mission of seeing us reach out and invite others to what we do, love each other. I know Travis and Kory will serve you well, they are generous and passionate about the move of God in our communities.

One of my favorite things about working at FUMC is their encouragement for me to grow through education, and to give me opportunities to feed into others lives. One of my giftings is to mentor teenagers and young adults, and through the past 5 years I’ve been able to feed into so many lives. You all know who you are. Thank you for allowing me to speak into all your lives, and I hope this won’t change even though I’ll be serving someone else. I care for you all so deeply.

The Music…

When I arrived at FUMC in 2009 I knew it would take a little time for me figure out the type of sound, flare and dynamics that would begin to identify the music of the church. ‘They’ say it takes 3 years before you first notice significant shifts in culture and process in anything you do, no matter the type of organization or program. (I believe the standard calculation looks like this in these cycles; 3, 5, 7 and 10 years are the big shifts in vision and culture…FYI) I can verify that at 3 years, all of our bands began to change. I believe they started to see the possibilities that could take place if we focus our attention to Jesus,  expectations of leaders, and excellence in our craft.

The Sound EPIt was at this time we produced our first EP. I couldn’t believe we did it. I was so proud of what we all accomplished in little ol’ Farmington, and how much we all learned together. And of course above you can see the Live Recording we did this last year…

All of you have been so impressive to me. Your consistency, talent, passion and friendships have all been so influential to me. The AAD jam sessions and practices filled with tears by worshiping together with the gifts of music I will never forget. The video will help explain a little bit… but thank you for everything, thankfully our family is staying in Farmington so we can jam here and there together, just call me!

A Farewell…

My prayer is that FUMC in Farmington is faithful to Christ. Never abandon Christ. Love Him and His Word before anything. This local church showed me what genuine friendships look like. Continue to be intentional about local mission. FUMC is probably one of the most active churches in the community that I’ve ever seen, just always remember to proclaim the Gospel by sharing the Good News. Be bold. Be loving. Be the Church.

In Community For Jesus

Have you ever seen ants work? I know it sounds ridiculous to start a lesson with that, but really, have you ever looked at ants and how work together? They work so well with each other, even without a leader, and yet they get things done, and they get them done together. The Bible actually mentions ants in Proverbs 6:6 and in 30:25. If you look real hard, they are carrying food, protecting their land, and even carrying their wounded off to safety. We try and do everything on our own without anyone’s help and along the way we’ve convinced ourselves that we’ve brought some good to the world by being independent. And the truth is, we actually need each other.

Living in Community

In Acts 20:17-38 ESV we read about Paul’s probable final meeting with the Ephesians elders. This meeting was very full of teaching the Gospel, warning and storytelling, In the final few verses it says this,

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.

Within this time of Christian community we see so much life, teaching, and love on the part of everyone. I know for most of us as people, we desire this. I love this is quote by Bill Clem, “A community of believers following Jesus can image God in ways that an individual simply cannot.”1 If you really pay attention to any book of the bible, most of them are full of commands and graces that are meant for listeners that in a community context rather than an individual. This word community has been distorted over the years and will probably conjure up ideas of communism or exclusive types of cults. This is not the case, God has a plan for us to work and image Him together. We must get out of our lone-ranger mentality of life and ministry.

There are marks of a Christian community worth mentioning, so that imitations can be easily pinpointed. First, a Christian community worships. This means that a Christian community loves truth, prayer and enjoys eating together. Second, there is belonging that cannot be found anywhere else in the world because there people that forgiven by Jesus, so they forgive. A beautiful picture of belonging is when Jesus washes Peter’s feet in John 13; we see the perfect example of servant leadership and refreshing friendship. And third, we image God together on mission as a witness.2 When we love the world together, more can happen then what we could ever do on our own. The real question begins to be, are you a consumer? Or are you a giver?

Common distortions when it comes to community are often caused by sin. Sometimes, difficulties in community can also stem from various ways in which certain members have experienced generous, fun or unbiblical fellowship. Four common distortions3 an slowly sneak their way into a community; therapeutic, business network, programmatic, and exclusive. I think we have all been there, therapy looks like an accountability group, networks are business meetings, programs are boring, and exclusive groups are creepy. “Community distortions prevent us from experiencing and expressing the salvation Jesus died to provide.”4

Memorize This Scripture

Mark 9:50 (ESV)

Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.

Personal Reflections

  • Read Acts 2:42-47
    • How would it look for our church for these descriptions to be true in our setting?
    • Does this excite you? Why?
    • Does this concern you? Why?
  • What type of distortion do you see you most prone to be involved with; therapy, network, program, or exclusive?
  • Take time now and plan to go to dinner or lunch with a group and find ways to integrate each other into the rhythms of everyday life. This might seem uncomfortable, but you all are mature adults, make it happen.

Things to Pursue on Your Own

Spiritual Discipline

  • For a lot of people, the use of imagination sounds secular, though it can be secular, it doesn’t have to be. The imagination can be used5 to the glory of God when fenced in by scripture, God gave us our imagination. Spend time in prayer and worship imagining in your mind the beauty of God and joining with other faithful followers in worshiping Him. Imagine what it can look like to be faithful Christians together, and mirroring the church as described in Acts chapter 2.

Personal Study

  • Are you currently in community with other Christians, besides scheduled gatherings like Sundays or required meetings?
  • Read the beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5.
    • Could these teachings be applied to both an individual and in plurality? If so, why?
    • Look at the beatitudes, and make note in your journal how each can be applied in your personal and community life.
  • Study the scriptures laid out in table below, and evaluate if your life is bearing such fruit in your local community.6

 

Biblical Community
'One-Anothers' SCRIPTURE
Care 1 Corinthians 12:25
Forgive Colossians 3:13
Be Kind Ephesians 4:32
Submit Ephesians 5:21
Be Honest Colossians 3:9
Love John 13:35
Peace 1 Thessalonians 5:13
Hospitality 1 Peter 4:9
Serve Galatians 5:13
Instruct Romans 15:14

Action Points

  • While considering your family first, go out of your comfort zone and invite a family in your neighborhood to dinner inside your home, or out to a restaurant if you feel safer with that. I know, big step, but you’ll be surprised what doors can open when steps of kindness are pursued in the Name of Jesus.

Footnotes

COVER PHOTO Photo © Eko Adiyanto

Source: 1x


  1. Clem, Disciple, 123. 

  2. Ibid., 130. 

  3. Ibid., 141. 

  4. Ibid., 150. 

  5. Demarest, Satisfy Your Soul, 148. 

  6. Clem, Disciple, 136.