Note from a spoiled pastor

Yesterday was an epically monumental day. I just need a moment to process with you, if you don’t mind.

First, I had the privilege of preaching at the finest church I know, CrossPoint. As we have been walking through the sermon on the Mount we have had to tackle difficult, controversial subjects. I’m privileged to serve a church that doesn’t become defensive, or look for an easy out. We accept, repent and walk on in grace.

I can’t tell you how rare that is.

Second, we heard 26 testimonies and saw as many baptisms at an outdoor, public gathering of the church. It was devastatingly beautiful. Still reeling from that.

But third (and most significant to me), my youngest son preached his first solo sermon yesterday.

He rocked it.

I could spend the rest of my words here expressing the joy I had in listening to him stand up in a friend’s church to deliver God’s word. I could  try to convey my own nervous tension seeing his name in the bulletin next to the line “preaching of the word.”

I might even reach back and share with you the struggle of the last month and watching him move from excited about the opportunity, to nervous about the coming date, to several text messages asking “Dad, can you meet me at the coffee shop to work on the sermon.” I loved every minute of it.

But, what I really want to share with you is in the picture at the top. Not only did Kathy and I go to hear our son, but many others gathered to be there with and for him as well. And, though there were some ladies as well, I asked for this picture with the men who showed up.

We have strived to be an intergenerational church and I think this picture tells a story.

Starting on the left is Ryan. A servant in the church who has known Nathan from early on. Ryan and his wife have been in our Grow Group  for years meeting at our house, their house and restaurants.  I’ve watched Ryan greet Nathan as a young man long before the world gave him that title.

Second in from the left is Dave, a more recent addition to our Grow Group, but more importantly a student ministry leader deeply invested in Nathan’s class. Not just a Wednesday night commitment, but a prayerful, interested and respected leader believing in the young men of our church.

Third in is Nathan, and next to him is his friend Max. Friends for years through ups and downs, playing music together, skateboarding together, but most importantly worshiping together, leading worship together and wrestling with Scripture as countercultural young men in a dark age.

Next to Max, well that’s me. I’ll bet you can assume I’ve been invested as well.

Near me with my hand on his shoulder, Nathan’s brother and my oldest. They’ve never really gone through the fighting phase, they’ve always shared friends, experiences and life. To hear Noah turn to me after Nathan’s first message and say, “That was amazing” was confirmation enough of a brother who has invested.

Next, Tom is our prayer warrior. This man is not only genuinely steadfast in caring for and praying for my sons. He calls them out for individual conversation every time he sees them. He picks them up to go shopping just so he can talk Scripture with them. He gets in their face and tells them the right way to live. Invaluable.

On the far right, Dave: my son’s student pastor and co-laborer with me at the church. Yes, taking a Sunday off to go sit and listen to one of his students grow. Then affirming him in such a way that he is also willing to develop them further by challenging him to deliver that same message to his own peers back home. Amen.

There is someone not in the picture you also need to see. When I told my church they would have to watch video instead of having their preacher live and in person, I did not expect positive affirmation. But, when I told them I was going to hear my son preach for the first time, they interrupted my announcement for raucous applause. That’s my church!

Of course there are others including mom, wives and such that could be in this picture. There are countless other men who have prayed for, served in ministry and contributed to the life of my son that aren’t pictured here either.  But I wanted you to see what I believe is so important. That generations of men investing in other men is what we need in the church today.

It’s the way church was intended if you read Scripture. Older men helping younger men, younger men respecting  older men. Growing together, stronger together.

Today I’m relishing in the fact that I am a blessed man, a proud father and a spoiled pastor.

Thank you my friends, thank you godly men, and thank you my church.

Psalm 145:4One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.