This past week, we Beeson Pastors took part in the Leadership Summit in Lexington Kentucky with 100,000 leaders from all over the world. The actual conference took place at Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago, where Bill Hybels serves as senior pastor, and we participated live via satelite. This three day leadership training event included insights from people such as Bill Hybels, Colin Powell, Jimmy Carter, John Ortberg and others. It was a powerful three day event that focused largely on how we leaders can assertively and strategically make a difference in the name of Christ among the neediest people in our communities and world.
God spoke to my heart in numerous and challenging ways. While the Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church, the church I serve as senior pastor, in the past few years has done more than we ever have to serve the hungry, homeless and hurting in our community, there is so much more we can and must do. The needs are great but the remedy of Jesus Christ and His Church is equal to the challenge. There are so many people all over the world, people who are not yet professing Christians or church goers, who are using much of their fame, fortune, energy and influence to tirelessly serve the needs of the poor. This is happening while many Christians in many churches are becoming insular, far removed from engagement with the world's most horrific problems. I don't know about you, but I feel embarassed by how little I have done for the needy, especially in light of how much many agnostics have done. And yet, we Christians are the ones who claim to worship and follow Jesus Christ, who came to preach "good news to the poor and set the captives free" (Luke 4). I came away from the conference asking, how can my leadership be used by God to set captives free in my community and world? I also came away saying, "Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me a sinner."
Tim Gilbertsen, SWC's assistant pastor, is continuing to provide teaching on this important issue as it relates to the church we lead. There are many things going through my mind about how I and we can use our God-given resources like finances, time, gifts, abilities and voice to serve the people who seem to have a very special place, not in the eyes of the world, but in the heart of God.
A body that is disproportionate to the head looks really funny. If we, the church body, fail to be congruent with Christ the head, the world will laugh at the misfit. Therefore, let's follow our leader Jesus Christ who was full of the kind of compassion for needy people that led Him to action.
If we are the body...