Last week, my hubby and I were honored to speak at Exponential, a stellar conference for church planters. We’ve been working with the leaders of Exponential for almost a year to create a conference with workshops and main session topics that would not only equip pastors and ministry leaders to lead churches, but address some issues that cut to the heart of all of us: purity, healthy marriages, and personal pursuit of Jesus.
In each main session, we heard from a different church planting couple (Darrin and Ami Patrick, Brian and Amy Bloye, Dan and Shannon Smith, Shawn and me, and Dave and Sue Ferguson). We shared personal stories of the high’s and low’s of church planting and the spiritual warfare we’ve faced – ways we’ve been sifted.
Although our stories were different, they were the same. Each of us faced circumstances that threatened to undermine the work God called us to do.
You want to know my biggest takeaways from my time at Exponential? I had two:
1. Don’t substitute what you do for God with who you are in God. It’s tempting to get caught up in the details of ministry and forget our first love. As you serve and lead, stay close to Jesus!
2. In trying times, turn to your spouse, not on your spouse. When criticism abounds, when things don’t go well, when expectations aren’t met, it’s tempting to lash out at those closest to you or to withdraw and hide our feelings. Don’t. Turn to each other. Lean on each other. God gave us to each other…..relish the gift He gave.
Those aren’t just good lessons for pastors. Those are great life lessons for all of us.
I don’t know what life looks like for you today, but maybe you needed to read these words. If so, do whatever you need to do to get back on track. Don’t waste another minute running ahead of God or running away from the people who love you.
Keep fighting the good fight today!