Sunday, May 10, 2015

REACH and A Pastoral Move

I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)

Some members have asked me (or wondered privately), “Brian, how will the news of your upcoming reappointment to a new church affect our REACH capital campaign?”  Well, the simple answer is:  It shouldn't one bit! (and I pray that you will not let it do so!)

Our REACH capital journey has never been about an individual person or their vision (mine, my successor’s, or anyone else’s), but about the vision that God has given to His people at East Cobb UMC to reach more of our community and world for Jesus Christ, using a new building as one tool to do that.

There are plenty of examples in scripture where this was the case.  For example, while Moses saw the “promised land” from a distance, it was his successor Joshua that actually lead the people of Israel to enter it. Later, while God gave King David the initial vision for the great Temple in Jerusalem, it was his son King Solomon who actually got to build and complete it.

And even in the scripture above (from 1 Corinthians 3), the apostle Paul highlights the biblical process of successor leadership when he says (listen to the entire passage in Verses 6-9): “I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow.  Because of this, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but the only one who is anything is God who makes it grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together, but each one will receive their own reward for their own labor. We are God's coworkers, and you are God's field, God's building.”

In case you didn’t know, Paul (like all United Methodist pastors) didn’t stay in one place too long.  Instead, he would preach and teach and lead in one place for a period of time, then move on to another place with someone else following him to pick up where he left off (in this case, a man named Apollos).  But his point is that neither the one who “plants” nor the one who “waters” is “anything” -- the only one that truly matters is “God who makes it grow.”  The “vision,” therefore, was never really about Paul or Apollos, but about God’s vision and work among them all.

So it is with our REACH journey: REACH is not about me or my successor, but about God’s call to His people at East Cobb UMC to reach more of its community for Jesus Christ. True, I may have I may have led us to better understand and clarify that vision, and my successor will help you to actually execute and carry it out, but the only one who truly matters in the whole process is “God who makes it grow.”

I trust that you will take this into consideration as you prayerfully discern the commitment(s) that God is calling each of us to share next week (May 17) on REACH Commitment Sunday.  I invite (and challenge) you to make your commitment not about me or my successor, but about the vision that God has for East Cobb UMC, and the exciting things that will take place when you as a church fulfill that vision!

Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

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