August 22, 2011

The Pastor, The Leader, The Papa

High in the mountains of British Columbia...learning, growing, breathing deep, looking down on my life, out of the trees and seeing the forest. 

Just finished two excellent books from two radically different Christian writers. Eugene Peterson writes, "The Pastor" as an instructive memoir of his life. Bill Hybels, writes "Axioms" as the lessons of leadership learned from a lifetime of leading a mega-church. 

Both resonated with me and pulled my mind and heart towards excellence before my God. 

The church as the family of God is a beautiful entity that Jesus calls his very own "bride". To be the "friend of the bridegroom" and assist in preparing the bride for her wedding day, is a role of the highest honor. To be called "Pastor" is to be entrusted as the humble servant of the greatest love of Jesus' heart. To authentically love people, (one by one and as corporate one called local church), is the highest honor of living. 

Yet I am called to serve by leading, called to love by leading, called to exercise a gift of leadership. Called to rally this beloved one of God into an advancing army that does great damage to the kingdom of darkness. An army that is led forward into specific battlefronts, an army that is organized, supplied, and motivated. I must be a general that promotes other leaders and delegates authority and responsibility. I must lead by example...leading from the front...leading from the most risk-taking position available. As the Army slogan shouts, "Be all you can be!"...I must call us a body of believers in Long Beach to "Be all WE can be!" Call me Leader and there is passion and urgency that is captivating to me. 

Yet in the midst of these roles there is another glorious call that whistles like a soft spring breeze through the trees of my life -- it is the call of being "Papa". The Spirit knew the preeminence of this role when he wrote, "How can one care for the church of God if he does not first lay down his life for his own household?" To spend quality time with grown children and find that "Papa" is still a delight to their lips is a source of inexplicable gladness. To hear them pray sincerely and passionately before our meals together. To hear them laugh as we dive off the boat to swim in the lake. To walk into church with them carrying their Bibles...these are the highest delights of this "Papa's" heart. 

Call me "Pastor" and I am honored... Call me "Leader" and I am motivated....Call me "Papa" and I am satisfied. 

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