Just got home from the funeral visitation. It’s been a long day, but here goes.
Today was a HUGE day for Pace Community Church. It was a big deal because the entire worship team (musicians, singers, and worship leading) was all done without Renae or me on the platform.
Here’s why it was such a big deal: What we do musically at PCC and the level at which we do it, is not an easy thing. It requires a high degree of skill and experience to play music like we do, to coordinate with others, and to lead worship and conduct worship services the way we do. This is no small feat. Yet today, it was all done by OTHERS; people who have a high degree of expertise, talent, and dedication. It was done by people who are humble servants who are willing to serve in any capacity for the betterment of the whole. This is a win-win for everyone; me and Renae, the PCC congregation, as well as the other team members who we able to spread their wings and use their gifts.
Yes, we are proceeding with the development of three worship teams, with each team serving on schedule of one month each. The team that was on today will lead services for the month of October. In November a third team will lead.
As an added bonus, we now have two, maybe three, brand new singers who are going to be added to the mix. New faces, new voices, and new talent.
Funny how change is a good thing. Funny how change makes room for others. It broadens and deepens our ministry.
It’s also funny how some people see change as a threat. Yet most of our people have recognized the development of three teams and the addition of new singers as an OPPORTUNITY for the more seasoned team members to develop as WORSHIP LEADERS themselves. Just saying.
We cannot remain the same. Know why? Because the ministry is not static. The church is not static. The ministry is fluid. The church is a living breathing organism; it’s people are the very Body of Christ. As such, they must be nurtured and developed in order to grow up healthy. And the day church leaders put the brakes on the church’s ministry (because they don’t like change, or because squeaky wheels squeak), is the day we have deliberately stunted the church.
Attendance was off by 65 people today, but the giving was higher that last week. Go figure. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to those patterns.
Maybe a bunch of people took me at my word last week when I said: “If Pace Community Church DOESN’T minister to you and your family, and if you don’t have confidence in its leaders, then find yourself a church whose leaders you can trust, and then do the same thing there that God expects you to do anywhere you attend – get in, get behind the leaders, and support it with your contributions!”
If that’s what happened, that’s okay. It’s better to have loyal, growing disciples who love their church and trust its leadership than it is to have a congregation full of people who don’t trust their leaders and eat for free each week. I don't mind saying that I am weary of freeloaders. They demand everything and offer nothing... and they know better.
I think some people got mad at me about the humor I used last week too - you know, the part about the dead churches. Sheesh. Some people just walk around with a chip on their shoulder looking for something to get offended at. Funny how people always find what they're looking for.
I enjoyed the message today as much as I have any in a long time. It was direct and straight to the point. I also enjoyed the pure practicality of its application.
Nehemiah KICKED Tobiah OUT of the temple! Then he threw his stuff out! It’s easy to assume that all the saints in the Bible walked around with a halo hovering overhead and wore polished sandals and untarnished garments. But to Nehemiah, having Tobiah living in the prophets chamber was like having a fox in the chicken coop!
Why was Nehemiah so ruthless? Because the he refused to live with wrong in a place that stood for right.
BTW, our Lord Jesus Christ did the same thing when He cleansed the temple. He picked up a whip, kicked over the tables of money changers, and ran those thieves out of the house! So much for being “Mr. Nice Guy” all the time.
Another powerful passage was v.10-14 which told us the people backslid on their commitment of financial support to the temple ministry. As a result many of the priests had to leave the ministry and return to their farms just to survive and the House of God fell into neglect.
It’s the same today as it always has been: The ministry is sustained by the voluntary generous support of God’s people. That is God’s economic plan. We are not in the retail business. We don’t sell widgets, gadgets, or soap. We don’t sell chicken dinners, have cake walks, or garage sales. We don’t play bingo games to raise money.
Neither are churches sustained by tax revenues like other professions (such as the military, school board employees, police, county employees, firemen, ambulance services, government employees, etc). These professions provide "services" to the community and need a financial base - it comes from tax revenue. Churches provide "services" to the community and their congregations as well. As such they are completely dependent up the voluntary generosity of God’s people… and I will teach God’s Word that way. I'll leave the ministry before I ever allow PCC to be turned into a Bingo Hall or flea market on my watch. If God's people are not willing to support it, then my time is up.
Without your giving there would be no Sunday services… we would have a dilapidated building…. Inferior quality in our programming… no communion services… no baptism services… no children’s ministry… no teen ministry… no preaching, teaching, music, or worship.
There would be no one to do your funerals… be with you at the hospital… perform weddings… or dedicate babies.
There would be no temple priests… no staff… no full time pastors… no daytime operations… no curriculum… and would couldn’t pay our power bill.
The pastor would have to go get a job on the side just to survive (like the priests who had to return to their farm fields), and when you needed him he wouldn’t be available because he couldn’t get off work at McDonalds because his supervisor was making him work a double!
Yes, this Nehemiah series has been to the point. Next Sunday is going to be even more so.
The worship team was excellent today. The sound system and microphones were perfect. Things are looking up at PCC for the better!
Transition is never easy and it’s been a little bumpy recently. But today I think we started hitting our stride.
Thank God, if feels good giving the ministry away. All I have to do now is be a protector of our vision.
Here are a few comments from Facebook about today’s service:
Melinda G. said, “Birds of a feather flock together… popped in my head when i was walking this AM....kinda cool considering what Rons message was at church today!”
Christa C. said, “PCC is amazing!!! Ron's message today was made for what my family has been through over the last couple of weeks!!! If I didn't know better, I would think he has "fly on the wall" capabilities!!!!”
Renae C. said, “The Worship Team & Band did a WONDERFUL job leading worship today ... and I SO VERY MUCH ENJOYED just sitting out in the congregation. The worship was deeply moving, very meaningful, and filled my cup to overflowing today! "
Beverly P. said, “"Stir up a hunger in my heart, where nothing else will satisfy me, where nothing else will do, stir up a hunger in my heart for m\ore of you" -radio...Cannot wait for church this morning!! PACE COMMUNITY CHURCH 9:30 and 11.”
Denise Y. said, “Really wish we were getting ready to go to church. Praying for the sign language team, worship team and Pastor Ron. I miss my PCC family. I love ya'll!”
Renae C. also said, “I look forward to more Sundays of letting others lead while I just enjoy the fruits of faithful service. After 13 years of leading, it's REALLY NICE (not to mention "high time") to enjoy the fruit of all those years of leading & training others to lead.”
One final comment from Renae, "Remember me, oh my God, concerning this, and wipe not out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services" ... This scripture especially blessed me this morning, (Nehemiah 13:14).”
Cathy D. said, “It was awesome.”
Mike C. said, “Church was great today. It is good to learn some relevant life lessons straight from the Word. And being a part of the worship team is just a big bonus!!!!”
Jodi Burgess did an excellent job on keyboard today. She plays very good. She also did a good job of leading, as well as following Chris’ lead. That is a big deal – developing team chemistry and reading the signals.
The sermon series on Nehemiah ends next Sunday. It’s going to go out with a bang. There will a strong family emphasis.
Before we launch into a new series we will take a 3-4 week break to teach a few stand-alone messages on different topics and also have a communion service.
I’m looking forward to the holidays. Holiday parties, things like that.
Went to a fish fry last night. Good people. Really enjoyed myself.
After the funeral visitation this evening, Renae and I had dinner w/a couple from our church. Good people. Really enjoyed myself.
I’m conducting a funeral tomorrow for Officer Randy Brown who passed away on Thursday. It is going to be a big deal. A lot of people from the law enforcement community in Escambia County will be there, including the former sheriff (Ron McNesby) and the current sheriff, David Morgan. In fact, Sheriff Morgan is going to be making a presentation of a medal of valor to Randy’s widow, Dawn. Pray for me that I do a good job for the family, represent PCC well in front of the community, and most importantly that I speak words of eternal impact to all those who will be present.
Good things are happening at PCC.
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