A Call, A Mission, and a Jar of Clay

A Call, A Mission, and a Jar of Clay

"Such is the confidence that we have though Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." - 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

On Sunday, Jan 15, I had the distinct honor of being installed as the new lead pastor of KingsWay Community Church. It was a day I will not quickly forget. The expressions of support and encouragement from the congregation I love the most were overwhelming. The service ended around 11:45am and I didn't leave the building until 3:30pm. There were that many people waiting to share their enthusiasm for the work God's doing in our midst.  

It wasn't until the next day, Monday morning, that I found time to sit down and read all the cards you wrote. The way you highlighted signs of God's grace in my ministry, the way you committed to praying for me, the way you communicated in no uncertain terms that you were "all in" at KingsWay - you couldn't have given me a better gift. Thank you. As I read your words, I was emotionally undone all over again. So I began praying for you by name, praising God for his work in your life, and attempting to transfer all the glory back to him. 

If you were unable to join us on the 15th, you can still listen to my public comments here in a sermon entitled, "A Call, A Mission, and Jar of Clay." During that message, I made a series of seven commitments to our church that I wanted to publish on our website for two reasons. First, I want every covenant members of our church to know how to pray for me as long as God calls me to serve as our lead pastor. Second, I want those of you who have yet to join our church and are curious about our recent leadership transition to know the kind of pastoral culture we're building at KingsWay. 

In no way are these the only things I'm committed to doing as a pastor. In that sense, they are not a replacement for the ordination vows I took 10 years ago. They are simply my attempt to capture the things I want to double down on as I step into a new role.

1) I promise to love the Lord our God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength recognizing that the best gift I can give you is my personal holiness. That means refusing to care for you at the expense of my own relationship with God or my family. I will prioritize the health of my own soul, the strength of my marriage, and the good of my children above the demands of ministry that I might not only tell you how to live, but also show you through the example of my life.

2) I promise to declare to you the whole counsel of God through faithful, gospel-centered exposition of his inerrant Word, pressing home the authoritative claim of Scripture in every area of life. I will work hard to equip current and future elders at KingsWay to do the same so that under my watch you are fed well in season and out of season.

3) I promise to devote myself to building and stewarding the practice of genuine plurality on our eldership that you might be well led by a group of men who love God and love one another. I will lead the eldership to focus on two priorities above all others – the ministry of the Word and prayer, that we may never exchange the responsibilities of a shepherd for the busyness of a manager.

4) I promise to build a culture of approachability and accountability among the leaders in our church, starting with myself, and to make significant decisions with an abundance of counsel, believing that God is eager to impart wisdom to me through men and women inside and outside our church.

5) I promise to keep our church focused on our mission – making disciples of Jesus Christ in this community and around the world – refusing allow good things to draw our attention away from the most important things. I will strive to communicate in such a way that God’s vision for our church is consistently clear and to spur you onward in doing the good works he has prepared for you.

6) I promise to labor in building a church that is trans-cultural and multi-generational, recognizing that biblical diversity reflects the reconciling power of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, I will never pursue diversity or numerical growth at the expense of doctrinal fidelity. On my watch, we will not modify or market the gospel according to the wisdom of man. We will protect and proclaim the gospel in the power of the Spirit.

7) I promise to anticipate, pray for, and at the right time begin training my replacement as lead pastor. So far as it depends on me, I will not build this church around my gifts, my abilities, or my personality. I will build this church on the foundation of the gospel, as it has always been, knowing that a church built into Christ – not a particular pastor – is the only church that will endure the test of time.

Posted by Matthew

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