Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Humbling Experience

I have been experiencing some anxiety regarding beginning this new church plant that God has called me to start. One of the questions I had was focused on where are we going to meet? I am grateful to God that since my last blog He has provided a space at the church where I currently have my counseling practice. The leadership agreed to allow me to use the space above my office which was formerly their main sanctuary. The church several years ago built a new sanctuary and the space above my office, which they now call their chapel, became available for other uses. We in essence will be sharing the building. Many churches are starting to consider sharing their space with other congregations due to the increasing expense in trying to maintain a building especially if a congregation is relatively small. It also presents an opportunity for fellowship and in some cases cross cultural experiences. As I met with my spiritual director, I was sharing with him how the space became available. A pastoral colleague who I will call Pat (not his real name) is a member of this host church and serves as a leader in the congregation. I came to know Pat because I began counseling his children around various adolescent issues. Pat was invested in seeing me start a church plant and has been very supportive in leading the charge to make it a reality. God worked in Pat's heart to speak into the lives of his fellow church leaders and the senior pastor. In a meeting approximately two weeks ago, the leadership unanimously agreed to move forward. Pat admitted that he really wanted me to stay at that church because of the work I had done with his children in counseling. He said, "If you leave, who will take care of my children?" As I shared Pat's words with my spiritual director, something inside of me broke and tears began to flow. It felt like the grace of God had overwhelmed me and the Holy Spirit was commissioning me to likewise take care of His children. It reminded me of Isaiah's commission in Isaiah chapter 6, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8) I realized in that moment how awesome a task I have and at the same time how humbling it is to have the Lord of heaven and earth call you to take care of His people. I am at a loss for words to adequately describe what I was feeling and the magnitude of this experience. And so, like Isaiah I can only reply, "Here am I, Lord. Send me."
In humble gratitude to God,
Pastor Sheree

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