Today is kind of a crazy day for me. Today, Nov 1, is the day I officially started at Centerville UMC three years ago. Three years! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone, and I can’t believe all that God has done in our community in three years.
Since coming to Centerville UMC we have changed a lot. From service times to mission and vision, to programming. If there was a sacred cow in the church it probably feels like we’ve tipped it, and to the credit of the church, they have stuck with it. Even more important than that, they’ve stuck with where God is calling us.
From massive tile projects to Christmas Miracle Offerings, and to the idea that EVERYTHING we do must be rooted in creating a disciple-making culture – things are changing.
I’ve changed too. I’m slower than I ever have been (in a good way). I feel like I’m more experienced and yet, I know less than I did when I started. My dependence on God has grown, and I now pray regularly that I can fight the voice in my head that says I know what I’m doing.
However, in the three years since coming to this community, I’ve never been prouder than with what has transpired in the last two weeks. My heart is practically bursting with pastoral pride at what the church has done to support the Kingdom of God.
If you didn’t know, our church, in partnership with Inspiration Church, did a full-blown church swap. Inspiration Church and their Pastor (Pastor Corey) are mostly an African-American church, and Centerville UMC is predominately a Caucasian church. So, Pastor Corey and I asked both of our communities to get outside of their comfort zone and worship differently. One week Inspiration Church came with their worship team and took over church at Centerville. The following week Centerville went to Inspiration and took over church at their location. We asked people to drive to a different church, and experience a different type of worship.
And the amazing part is – they did it!
They crushed it, and the Holy Spirit showed up in ways that still gives me goose bumps. It was some of the best church I had experienced in a long time, and it wasn’t the best because of the sermons, and it wasn’t the best because of the worship (which was awesome), it was the best because all these people showed up so that God could show them what a small taste of Heaven on Earth might look like.
On both of those sacred Sunday morning worship experiences, it felt like family. It felt like a family who was getting together to just love one another. It was incredible.
Three years in and I am seeing the beginning of what God has in store for our community. I believe that in my fourth year the Holy Spirit is going to be unleashed. That we will have an outbreak unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. I believe that lives will be changed and people will come to know God in ways we can only begin to imagine. Relationships with different people will be made, and disciples will cultivate more disciples who are equipped to make disciples.
So, on this special day, the day of my three-year anniversary at Centerville UMC please allow me to end my discourse with a very special “Thank you!” Thank you, church, for letting me play a small part in what God is doing. And thank you for being the place where God is transforming my own heart.
I wait with hopeful anticipation to see what the Holy Spirit does in year four!