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If you had to do without either your brain, your heart or your muscles, which would you be willing to surrender? You wouldn’t last long without any one of the three. Let me tell you about three pastors who worked together in the most joyful experience of relational unity that I’ve ever been a part of.
It was the body of Christ in action the way the Lord intended, and it was a source of joy for us all!
I served three congregations as pastor (one of them twice!) and learned something different at each. As an Associate Pastor at Peace in Saginaw, MI, I learned the lesson of relational wellbeing: wonderful things can happen when there is trust, respect and love among the people of God.
The church and school at Peace were blessed with about 30 gifted, talented and passionate servants of the Lord on the ministry team. I only have time to share with you some of what I learned in the pastoral ministry team of Ed Kast, Bert Eggers and myself.
We were totally different from each other. Ed was in his 50’s and grew up in the deep south. Bert was an upper Midwesterner in his 40’s and I was a young buck in my 30’s from the Pacific Northwest. Naturally, we drove each other crazy.
Ed expected excellence and quality in everything we did. He had great visions and dreams for the church’s ministry and thought about everything very deeply. He was our brains; examining every suggestion inside and out, stretching us, challenging us to be at our very best.
Bert had the gift of schmooze. He made everyone feel so welcome that they would hang around the church for hours at a time, chatting and drinking coffee.
I was continually moving on to the next project. There were times it seemed like I had a new idea for a new ministry every 45 minutes.
Bert and I went crazy with Ed’s insistence on thinking things through thoroughly. Ed and I went nuts with Bert’s casual approach to productivity. Bert and Ed must have gotten headaches from rolling their eyes back at all my crazy ideas.
But somehow, by the Lord’s grace, it worked.
Ed was the brains that Bert and I lacked. Everything we did was done better because of Ed’s wisdom. I provided a little bit of muscle and energy so that together the three of us instituted a number of new ministries in my time at Peace. Bert, it turns out, was performing an invaluable ministry of care, compassion and listening that freed us up for tasks at hand. Ed and I were more productive because of Bert’s heart.
And over the years, we learned what it truly meant to love one another as brothers in Christ, to respect one another even despite all of our differences, and to trust one another completely.
The hardest part about accepting a call and moving on to a new ministry was leaving behind this team that truly functioned as the body of Christ together. Ministry together wasn’t always easy, but it was a source of Joy, and is even now as I think of it.
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1, NIV).
Thanks for reading.
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