Each year, we speak with several Outreach 100 pastors in an effort to collect their honest observations about the church, their ministries and their experiences.
Houston’s First Baptist Church in Houston, Texas
Safeguarding my life is not only important but joyful. It gives me great joy to protect my heart and not lose it in the midst of ministry. I’ve done this with two categories in mind: delegation and preparation. The more I can delegate to volunteers and staff—not only tasks but also responsibility—the more I can focus on what I’m truly uniquely gifted to do. Secondly, preparation allows me to keep with the pace instead of feeling the stress of being behind. Time alone with God, a sabbatical break, prayer and adequate study time each week help me prepare. Delegation and preparation have lowered my stress and my increased joy.
The biggest influence on my spiritual journey has been a daily time with the Lord. No rocket science here, just the Bible, pen and prayer each morning and night. Through the years this has had a cumulative effect in growing my faith.
Criticism is always difficult, but I’ve learned that it comes with the position and is not always aimed at the person. Therefore I do not need to take it personally but with my position try to find a nugget of truth to learn from. In regard to praise, I learned to receive it as encouragement and not try to deflect it in false humility. I used to deflect the praise thinking that was more spiritual. Now I’ve learned that the praise is intended to be a tool of encouragement in my life. Receive it and thank God.
My concerns over the state of the church are centered around the lack of understanding our identity. Often times we are so busy trying to be who we think the world wants us to be, we have forgotten who God wants us to be. The result is we are trimming our biblical convictions and trusting in our ability to woo the world more than God’s ability to call them to his Son. I’m excited though to see the outward focus of many churches to care for those in need. The combination of an outstretched hand with a heart for God’s Word is a powerful combination.
It is interesting to be a part of something that handles eternal things, is thousands of years old and yet still be nimble in order to be relevant to today’s culture. In the future I think we will see a fusion of worship styles, ages and races. Our culture desires to see us unified more than specified to our own needs.
HOUSTON’S FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
Affiliation: Southern Baptist
A 2016 OUTREACH 100 CHURCH