I was thinking and praying after our meeting last night (which I really enjoyed). I wanted to get my thoughts organized and send them to you.
I think, in general, I feel God constantly pulling me to lead the church outside of its walls and for what time I do spend inside its walls being spent raising up leaders who can also help lead people outside of its walls. Here are just a few examples of how God is orchestrating this and what I’m sensing:
- Sermons. Even my sermon focus on the Kingdom of God is to help people see the BIG Kingdom of God and serve in it. The very thrust of my messages is to push people outside the walls of the church to build the Kingdom. I’m not asking them to serve within the church, but to build the Kingdom. (Someone else should ask that of them and point out those needs, but I don't believe that is me.)
- Community Groups. The entire intent of community groups was/is to do outreach. So far, that hasn’t really happened. I didn’t want to create just another Bible study opportunity for Christians, but a way to organize ourselves so that we could easily reach our neighbors and communities. I still want to do that, but just need some help.
- Ministry Partners & Renters. Ever since I met Coach Coop, I’ve been praying that God would send ABC partners who could either serve with us to reach the harvest, or who could use our building to help us reach the harvest. So far, we have him and the hispanic church paying to rent the facilities. There are others whom I’ve met and talked to but nothing materialized. It seems to be something God has been doing lately…bringing along others who can either help us reach others or pay rent to provide us more resources to build the Kingdom with. I believe there are more out there and I'd like to find them and spend time discipling them.
- Pastor Teboh. Who knows what will come of this ministry partner, but he is another example of how God is drawing people (perhaps other laborers) to ABC. This relationship is a walk of faith, but, for now, I am trying to discern what God may be doing with us together.
- Church planting. Since David got here, we have been focused on church planting. This is yet another walk of faith, and I am praying and trusting God to bring in new people and show us how he is moving in that direction. That all means more time to devote to that.
- BAMA. I am hoping to get to know more local pastors and serve in the broader Baytown community. My first opportunity to meet with them will be next month, but this is yet another “outside the church” ministry opportunity I am trusting God with.
- ministry4x4. As I am writing this curriculum, I am really praying and trusting that God will use it to help speak to and equip Victor, Jeremy, Nathan, and Bryan about their leadership potential. However, I also believe God can and will use it outside of Baytown to build the Kingdom. I don’t know what that looks like, but I believe God is in it.
- Funeral for my neighbors. The funeral I am doing tomorrow is a good example of the types of ministry opportunities I’d like to take advantage of. I am hoping not to just do the funeral and leave, but to develop an ongoing relationship with my neighbors. That all takes time and energy.
The tension, though, is constantly being pulled back inward to the mechanics of the church: operations, personnel, budget, calendar, etc. I haven’t figured out how to successfully release some of these things without just doing it. In thinking about it, I believe there are three key areas God wants me to release and I could use your help in figuring out how to do it well.
- Empowering and releasing Viandra to be the facility manager. I need Viandra to be more assertive and take a more active role in managing the facilities and ministries that take place on our campus. She is on the payroll, after all. She is gradually doing more and more, but I am talking with her tomorrow about having full and complete authority to purchase what we need, coordinate ministries, manage our renters, and make decisions without consulting me. This is a choke point for us and I’m going to entrust more to her and see how she does with it. I am honestly not sure if she is capable of doing this, but I want to try and see how she does with it.
- Letting the admin team function without me. I spoke with Wally earlier in the year about taking the lead on the admin team. I’m going to talk with him tomorrow about just taking the reigns entirely and letting me know when he needs me there. I believe I am too involved in trying to lead the admin team like I lead the elders and they and I would be better off without my presence there.
- Stepping out of the community groups. I had hoped to lead community groups into outreach without actually leading a community group. However, as soon as I started having my own group, everyone joined my group. This is the opposite of what I want to happen. They all love it, but I don’t want it to be Justin’s club where we gather, eat, and pray. I want them to function without me and my personality, and I believe they will do better if someone NOT named Justin DuBose can lead them and I can simply come alongside that person and lead them. I am having coffee tomorrow morning with Dave Truncale to ask him to consider serving as the Community Group Coordinator.
There are so many other things I could say, but this is where I am and, I think, the source of the ministry tension I’ve been feeling lately. I’d appreciate your prayers and wise counsel. You guys are all a huge blessing to me.
Just a man trying to save his thoughts and correspondence