Monday, November 7, 2011

Great Day!

Yesterday was a great day in ministry. At Chain of Lakes Church we’re looking at Spiritual Gifts during our stewardship drive this year. In the sermon I talked about taking risks with the gifts we have to love someone. In the story of the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) Jesus applauded risk taking. The first two slaves risked a losing a large amount of money to double what they were given. I talked about how the Presbytery is taking a risk on our congregation in purchasing a 8.89 acre piece of property for us. They are risking that God wants a vibrant, new Presbyterian church in Blaine and Lino Lakes; they are also taking a risk that the people of Chain of Lakes Church want this type of church.

The entire sermon could be seen here:

After worship we enjoyed a wonderful luncheon and program. At the program Dave Nyberg unveiled the world premiere of video he made about Chain of Lakes Church. He interviewed folks who shared how our new congregation has had an impact on their lives. I was especially touched by the interviews with Mary Beth Higgens, counselor at Lino Lakes Elementary, and James Chapman, leader at Manna Market. Both shared that Chain of Lakes helped each of them at important times. We are helping the school with money for kids who aren’t able to purchase milk and helping to sponsor a speaker series next January. Chain of Lakes partnered with two other churches to sponsor a walk for Manna Market last August. The proceeds of the walk helped Manna Market purchase a new van.

But my stomach was turned upside down after the video. A woman—who was unchurched three years ago—shared that the video was powerful, but didn’t share the unspoken ways our new congregation has helped people. She said that she receives something from Chain of Lakes that she is not receiving in any part of her life. She said she always leaves our congregation on Sunday in a better place than when she came. Another woman then shared that when her husband was going through a difficult time she was often asked whether she has support from others. She replied that her support is her church—Chain of Lakes Church. Wow!

After worship Amy, Hannah, and I drove down to Plainview, Minnesota for the installation of their new pastor, Rev. John Curtiss. John is going to do a terrific job at Plainview. I felt a little chagrined about coming to the installation service as a former pastor, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to visit with the people who I came to love deeply over sixteen years of ministry. It was a privilege to worship and visit with the people of the church. I don’t have too many opportunities to sit in that sanctuary to worship. This is a place that our congregation built, where I preached at least 600 sermons, a place where I officiated at least 80 funerals, at least that many baptisms, and many weddings. It’s a sacred space to me.

I told John later that there isn’t a place in that building that doesn’t bring at least one story to me. As we were leaving the building I told this to my daughter, Hannah. She pushed back on this statement to ask what memories I had of the door facing the main street. I said that I remembered the many times that I led a casket out of the building and into a waiting hearse.

I am very excited to hear about what God is going to do in that congregation and with their new pastor.

It’s cool that I get paid to have such moving experiences. Could there be a better job than that of a pastor?

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