Humble Service - A week of VBS

There is no better way to be humbled as a pastor than to see 50+ members of your congregation give of themselves to serve 80-90 children, many of whom do not attend our fellowship.  It is Vacation Bible School week and for the past five nights a contingent of volunteers have been shepherding a flock of children with remarkable energy and enthusiasm.  They have done it with such joy it's hard to tell who had more fun, the servants or the kids.

But the work began over a month ago with many of the leaders planning, preparing, and training. Decorators searched for materials, created props and over the weekend before transformed the church into the VBS theme.  Volunteers prepared all the supplies needed for crafts.  Drama performers spent hours practicing their lines and scenes for their five skits.  Dancers practiced their steps and hand motions.  Servants joyfully prepared to register the kids, feed the kids and teach the kids for five nights.  All so that they may learn and know Jesus.  

Words simply cannot express my appreciation for these dedicated and humble servants.  They have honored The Lord by following his example of cherishing and serving the children who have attended this years VBS. Most importantly, to The Lord Jesus be all the glory, for these giving people have done this work for Him and through Him.  My prayer is that He abundantly bless them and that their labor not be in vain but that all that they have shared and taught the children will produce much fruit in their young lives. 



It's Congregation Appreciation month!


Yes, I know there is no such thing as "Congregation Appreciation Month."  In fact, it is apparently pastor Appreciation Month.  Why?  

I couldn't find who started it, so I suspect it may have been Hallmark or some other greeting card company to promote their revenue or by some pastor needing to be validated.

Personally, I see no need for a month or a day to be designated for me to be appreciated.  My reason is simple and will let the words of Paul the apostle explain it.  He wrote to the Thessalonians:

But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness--God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.  1Thes. 2:4-6

I'm with Paul. I have been approved by God in my ministry as well, therefore I speak and serve to please Him, for He will be the one that I will have to stand before and give account.  Therefore, the glory of men (being praised and exhalted by men), or by my congregation is not needed or expected, nor demanded.

Paul also has taught me that my joy in ministry is not found by being recognized and applauded by my congregation but by their lives lived for the Lord consistently until His return.

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.  1Thes 2:19-20

I can sincerely say, for me to watch my congregation, those God has given to me to serve and teach, take hold of God's truth, to apply it and grow in their relationship with the Lord Jesus, is of great joy to me.  The apostle John made similar statements in his 3rd letter.

For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.  3John 3-4

My congregation is a source of "great Joy" to me for they continually demonstrate a walk in God's truth and so demonstrate their appreciation of me as they glorify the Lord in their lives.  Lord bless them and keep them.