Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A church's long shadow

I spent some time today with a member of ClearView that feels God may be calling him to some kind of vocational ministry. I began thinking through those God is raising up in our church to take this same path. We have at least a half dozen who are currently studying for a ministry role of some kind. This is a great indicator of God at work through the church.

It has caused me to reflect on the church I consider my "home church" which is First Baptist Church Lilburn, Georgia. My dad was pastor of that church in the late 70's and early 80's. Only eternity will reveal the full impact of the ministry of that church during that time. The church grew rapidly and baptized many. However, I think her greatest impact is in the number of people sent FROM that church into vocational ministry.

When I was in seminary, I know there was at least a half dozen of us that were there at the same time all from FBC Lilburn. There are 4 of us I can recall quickly who are currently serving as pastors ... all in different parts of the country. Another is a seminary professor. Not everyone called into ministry through that church took off to seminary. There were at least three "older" men 'called' to ministry during those years (one a barber and another a painter). Two of those men quickly became pastors of churches. The third came on staff at FBC and now serves on the staff of one of the larger churches in Florida.

FBC Lilburn no longer is one of the larger churches in the state. The area around the church has transitioned dramitically and her ministry has shifted. But her impact stretches far beyond the geographical area where she is located and the decade of the 70's. If added together, the ministry of this church now impacts thousands through those serving churches and and teaching in a seminary.

It dawned on me the man I sat with today is in some ways a "grandchild in minstry" of a church he knows nothing about ... a church I call "my church home". Thank God for a church that saw it as her mission to send people out long before church planting was popular. May her ministry continue to multiply through ClearView as we make it our mission to "grow 'em up and send them out"!!