Reflecting on My First Year as Pastor
Matthew 7:24–27 (ESV)
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
September 1, 2019 was my official "start date" as Pastor at Southside Baptist Church. On this one year anniversary, I've taken a moment to pause and think about the gift of this past year.
My First Step Forward: Preaching
My first step forward was Preaching. It still is!
Most church websites don't use that word. I use it intentionally. You'll find it positioned near the top of the list at southsidebaptist.net !
I want Southside to be identified as a place of quality preaching.
If you want to hear God's Word, rightly divided - you will hear it at Southside. If you want to hear the Gospel for the first time - you will hear it at Southside! If you want to be reminded of the Gospel every week - you will hear it at Southside!
I am convinced people want to hear from God. My commitment, my gifting, my calling is to proclaim God's Word and Work in Christ every week! As Southside presses on into the future, I am investing now in a legacy that I pray points people to the living God through a ministry of the living Word!
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
The Church is not a people who "do first, then hear." We are a people who "hear first, then do." That is wisdom.
How will they hear without preaching?
My Second Step Forward: Pastoring
Beeson Divinity School shaped me to be "a pastor who can preach." While I want Southside to know the benefits of good Bible preaching, I want Southside to also know that they have a Pastor!
Growing up, my pastors were all called "Brother _____." While that has a place and means something, I felt like an understanding of who a pastor is and what a pastor does was lost on me. I wanted to try something different with the congregation God had given to me.
When I began work at Southside, I was asked: "What do you want to be called?" My answer: "Pastor Christopher."
Why? I want Southside to know that they have a Pastor, accountable to God to care for their souls! To teach them God's Word and shepherd them into God's ways! To lead them into the worship of God in spirit and in truth that carries them through their week. To lead them to one day finish the race well and to pass on the faith of old to future generations!
Being called "Pastor Christopher" serves as a reminder to me as much as it does to Southside of the weight, calling, accountability and responsibility of pastoral work. I'm learning that takes time to teach because it has not been taught.
My Next Steps
25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
The foundation doesn't matter if there are never any storms.
There will always be storms! Storms from without and storms from within. This is the nature living as a redeemed people who are not of this world but yet are in the world! The question is, will the house stand or fall?
That is determined by the foundation upon which it was built!
The Lord has led Southside into multiple preaching series through Acts, Hebrews and now Joshua. In each series we have heard from God just what we needed during that season! In each series, we encountered God's people facing challenges and obstacles and "storms." In each series, we saw the rock that is Jesus! And God did more with those who were faithful than ever was thought possible!
Southside is faithful. Southside is enduring! God is adding to our number -- even during the challenges of a pandemic! Above all, God is faithful in sustaining us in these days.
I am as energized now and excited to be pastoring as I was this day one year ago! That doesn't mean it has been an easy year - far from it! But I have peace because we are being built for this decade upon the right foundation that is Jesus Christ, the Living Word!
I have witnessed God moving this past year, doing things that only He could do - even in this pandemic! I have an assurance that He is working on building a house that will weather the storms for decades ahead to bring Him glory! I am humbled every day at the thought of stewarding what the Living God has entrusted to me. I want to encourage you with these words!
To God be the glory! With love in Jesus,
-- Pastor Christopher