In December 1983 I left school teaching and entered the amazing world of leading God's people as my life passion, pleasure and privilege. The young idealistic dreamer was captivated by the notion of growing the biggest church in Durban [South Africa]. I look back today and I am so embarrassed to have considered such an ego driven dream.
Meeting Dudley Daniel was my saving grace. As a friend, spiritual mentor, father and apostle, he dragged me out of the myopic world of one city that captivated and impressed me, and placed me in a world where the nations beckoned. From my first trip to Europe in 1984 to the trip that changed my life, Hong Kong and OZ in 1990, I knew there was another world out there. Another way to do ministry.
M and I are now in our 27th year of church leadership. It has been an amazing ride. We have led 2 churches on 2 continents [Africa and North America] and helped plant many along the way. I have known Christian community at her best and her worst. I have seen passion, commitment and sacrifice that has amazed me, I have also seen an absolute disregard to God's appointed leaders, his word and the wonder of obedience. We have known the presence of the Holy Spirit that has been riveting but have also had to find sanity as we have walked through the valley of the shadow of death. The sheer weight of pastoral ministry has at times overwhelmed me. The pain of people's pain has been to great to bear. Unanswered prayers have weighed heavily on us. Saying goodbye to loved ones who died too young with unfulfilled 'prophecy' has been loaded with too many tears. By nature I am an optimist. By vocation I have had to fight the darkness of the soul with pain and loneliness too difficult to describe.
It is now 4:26 am. In a few hours I will walk into a room full of expectant Jesus lovers. The children will come and give me some love. My daughter will lead worship in prophetic sensitivity. M and the boy will stand with me in worship. We will be found in his presences as we drink in the amazing wonder of worship. The God stories today of healing and financial provision will be met with hooting and hollering. We will talk about the container with about $30,000 worth of goods that will leave for Africa after the meeting. We will welcome back the team that were in Kenya and then I will preach. Shaking in my boots [though they probably wont know], I will talk about Jesus and this remarkable gospel. The blood will wash us. Somewhere in the room, someone will sit and just weep. Normally a broken leader abused by life's ministry journey, will just weep.
After the meeting we will pray for numbers of folks. New folks will come and introduce themselves as the buzz of community will be washed down with lattes. When the din slowly subsides, M and I will probably be amongst the last to leave. Weary, emptied with happy hearts we will know why. Why we love Jesus so much. Why we love his bride so much. Why we love his presence so deeply. Why the pain and privilege of ministry is our daily preoccupation. I am not sure why he chose me to walk on this journey but I am so glad...