Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Journey of a Thousand Miles

It is often said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. What looks like an unreachable, unattainable goal becomes more within reach every time a step forward is made. It doesn't have to be a huge step, it just has to be in forward motion.

Being the pastor of The Brooklyn Free Methodist Church over the course of the last three years, I have seen the church go from being so inwardly focused to people in the congregation now believing, as they should, that ministry needs to be outwardly focused. And they are taking up the mantle of ministry, something that even a couple years ago would have been difficult.

Last night (Wednesday the 19th of June) we held a hot dog giveaway from 4-6 pm, catching people as they were driving home from work or just passing through. Last year we tried this and had only four people stop by. We had more volunteers show up than "customers". This year was a completely different story. I was told that in the 2 hours of this event, which came together fairly quickly, we had over 30 people show up, and were able to pray with them and share with them more than just a hot dog, drink, and ice cream. The best part was I, as the pastor, was not there for it!

If you think this might be a bad thing, please know I really wished I could have been there. I love being part of outreach, especially when hot dogs and ice cream are involved. But I was called away to a meeting that I could not opt out of attending, so I sent my apologies and hoped for the best. Knowing that my not being able to be there was not a detriment to ministry was welcome news to my ears and heart. 

My own journey of a thousand miles within the context of The Brooklyn Free Methodist Church was begun when I encouraged the people there to see that ministry can happen with or without a pastor being present, and that thing that matters most is that the Holy Spirit is present, empowering them to go out and do ministry. Three years ago that was unthinkable, as they believed the pastor is responsible for all the ministry in the church. And now they are not only doing ministry, but they are initiating ministry because they see the need to get the gospel message out into the community and see lives changed through Jesus' death and resurrection.

I cannot express in this blog just how thrilled I was that this event came together so well and the people who engaged in it have been getting that ministry is not about the man who stands at the pulpit on a weekly basis. Rather it is about the man who, because of the sin in our life, took on flesh and bore that sin to Calvary, to suffer the consequences that we all deserve, and to have that sin broken and powerless in our life if we will just believe and have faith in Him. He's the Man that matters the most. Not me.

Who knows how much longer our journey of a thousand miles will be. But one thing is for sure, we're a lot closer to our destination than what we were when we began.

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