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A Major Decision and The Lesson That Followed

November 24, 2009

I have made a decision that many people will not agree with, but what’s new? I am going to work part time until Baypointe gets off the ground. Now before all my “full-time” pastor friends blast off on me and tell me how I should be focusing solely on the church let me give you a few reasons.

  1. I do not want to take a full salary from the church yet. I could, but I would rather take only half and use the other half to make Baypointe’s launch better. I will be able to market more fully, make our website better, and a host of other things I can do with half of my salary. (Make no mistake, a church planter’s salary is small, but the sacrifice now will pay off later…I’ll expound on that thought on a later date.) FYI, I am working on Baypointe stuff from 8AM to 1:30 PM, go to my second job from 2:30-7:30 and then go home to spend time with the family.
  2. I need a release. I love the restaurant business, and working 5 hours a day 3-4 days a week will be a great mental break from the everyday grind.
  3. This is one of the most important. I want to meet and connect with people. After working just one shift I have learned a lot about the community God has placed me in. I don’t want to just meet them for the purpose of building my launch team, but also to hear their stories. Let me expound…

 

Pastors and leaders, I want to ask you an important question: Have we become unintentionally disconnected from the “working, family guy?” Do you truly understand what they go through? How many of us (myself included) have even questioned a person’s commitment to Christ due to their lack of “serving.” We schedule “serving” opportunities based solely on when the church is open on Sundays, or once a month events, or some other thing we think is important. Please hear me, these are vital things! But there has to be more.

I met a guy last night that is a full time real estate broker by day, but because of the economy has to wait tables at night. He is married, has three kids, his wife works, and they attend church on Sundays. This guys works roughly 65-70 hours per week to support his family. If we don’t know his story, we would quickly ask “Where are you serving in the church?” Serving? This guy is barely able to keep going. He is fulfilling his GOD ORDAINED calling to take care of his family. He gets up every morning early to pray because he told me it was the only time he has. If we didn’t know his story would we quietly question, “Why isn’t this guy serving in the church?”

I repented last night for my false view of serving. I have seen “serving” all wrong. Hard question: how many of us leaders use the term “serving” really to encompass “things we want to see happen on Sundays so our church functions smoothly,” yep that hurt, and yes I am talking to me. Please don’t get me wrong, these things on Sunday are done by tremendous volunteers who for the most part have an amazing heart for God and His church. What I want to raise our awareness to is that “serving” the church can look different. Maybe we need to create new opportunities for guys like this, he can’t be the only one.

I have no clue how to do it, so I ask: How do we shift the paradigm of serving? Maybe it doesn’t need shifting, but expanding? Serving is vital to the life of a Christ-Follower, so we must find a way to help. Shoot me your thoughts and ideas.

 

Grace.

 

Ben

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2009 5:10 pm

    what a great eye-opening post…keep them coming!

  2. November 24, 2009 7:11 pm

    I think that it is great that you’ve changed your view of serving. People who don’t “serve” every Sunday are just as important to the church as those who do. I’ve always thought it was somehow horrible that the church “core” has been measured as those who give and serve. What if they can’t? Great post Ben!

  3. Barbara V permalink
    November 30, 2009 8:40 pm

    Years ago I had a job that required me to work on Sundays. Some time later, I became a Christian and started attending church regularly.

    Since becoming a Chritian I have actually turned down jobs that required me to work on Sundays but many people are not able to do that because they have a family to support or work in a hospital or shift work setting.

    Yet, I have never forgotten the fact that there are people that work on Sundays and traditional church nights. Think about having an alternative day or night church service for people who are not able to attend traditional weekly services.

    People may be able to serve on days other than Sundays or Wednesdays if in an alternative service but cannot on Sunday. Sometimes it’s not an issue about serving but a timing issue – they have to work!

  4. December 6, 2009 3:39 am

    Wow! This post definitely messed me up. Asking someone to serve after they’ve worked 70 hours that week is a thin ice to be skating on.

    As far as working a job during the pre-launch phase… I have been praying about doing the same thing when we move to South Florida to plant our church. We have the funding for me to have a full time salary in the beginning, but better to make some sacrifice on the front end for the betterment of the church in the long run. I currently live about an hour from where you are planting and would love to connect sometime and chat. I believe we have a mutual friend in Travis Johnson.

  5. December 16, 2009 3:45 am

    I would take it a step further… How effectively are the rest of us using our gifts and living in community when there are so many in our church family who are barely scraping by?

    One thing I have observed in the people around me, and in myself, is this idea that we are supposed to have our stuff together and then with the time we have left, help out the church. I don’t know very many people who have their stuff together. Some are short on money, some are short on time, some are short on friends, some are short on help caring for kids, some are short on emotional health… and they all show up Sunday feeling like they barely made it through the week.

    I think it’s important that we all come as we are: needs and gifts together in one package.

    Then, we need to learn to be more inter-dependent. For example, if a young, double-income married couple want to see an example of parents laying down their lives for their kids and each other, they could take the family you mentioned (with the 70-hr/wk dad) out dinner… and pay for their food. Everyone wins.

    And if we are to be truly interdependent, it can’t just be “I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine.” We need to be willing to give what we have (whether that fits the general idea of “serving” or not) and be willing to be vulnerable and ask for what we need.

    I’ll let you know if I ever get this one down. 🙂

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