My husband and I came home on Friday. We plopped down on the couch and let out a collective whew that this crazy week was finally over. Regular work schedules are tough, but throw in three days of sick daughters, both of us fighting sickness ourselves and a tense teenage son and, well, whew. No plans for the weekend besides Sunday church where we are still observing and learning. Plus, spring break starts Monday. Win win win.
We fell into bed Friday night, too exhausted to even have a proper date night after I’d been fighting the stomach crud that kept the girlies down Wed thru Friday. And then I hear it. Bing! A text message at 11:30 pm.
That’s never good.
For the last three weeks we’ve been, essentially, interning as campus pastors at Compass Church.
Since my spiritual water boarding incident in Austin, Texas where I said “yes” to ministry and “no” being held hostage by my past transgressions, we have been on a roller coaster ride over here. Ups and downs and then further down with kids, relationships, sickness, vehicles and confidence. My mother-in-law, a veteran of ministry, warned me to pray a daily dose of protection over my family because now we’re targets for spiritual warfare.
I kind of laughed at that and then crap started happening. Then I got scared and actually started to think she may be on to something. Score one for parental wisdom.
Just as things started to settle, bing!, the text message.
Our pastor was in the hospital and needed an emergency appendectomy. We knew what this meant. WE were ON for Sunday. Thank goodness we had a guest missionary speaking to the congregation. Thank goodness we had kinda sorta dabbled in setup and tear down. Thank goodness the two year old church plant is almost solely run by volunteers who have it down flat. You don’t just open the doors and turn on the lights. There’s major setup and tear down with a mobile, mission-based church.
Most churches exhibit the 80/20 rule, wherein 20% of the people do 80% of the work. At Compass Church, it’s the opposite. 80% of the people volunteer. I continue to be amazed at the level of participation and leadership at even the lowest levels of this organization.
Belong until you believe. Serve before you are saved.
Saturday morning at 6:30am we were up and ready (this is not normal). Rick threw on his hospital chaplain badge and we descended upon room 207 with coffee for the pastor’s wife who had slept in a chair by her husband’s bedside and my requisite black iced tea. The pastor’s birthday was the day before wherein his wife had given him permission (finally) to purchase a motorcycle. In celebration of her temporary insanity, we wore biker gear to the hospital.
Y’all, we had our first staff meeting in the pastor’s hospital room. Because this is how we roll. We met for 2 hours and were surprisingly productive.
As they prepared to be discharged, we took a trip to Coscto, my husband’s girlfriend, for some much needed staples. We reconvened that evening at pastor’s house. While he was hopped up on painkillers and his wife was too exhausted to care, we attempted to make copies, cut apart comment cards and train the up-and-coming children’s pastor on the goings-on in the birth-5th grade program. Pastor and I sat on the couch where this PC-only girl worked clumsily on the church’s MacBook and was patiently schooled in the use of ProPresenter 5.
Instructions delivered on pain killers are hilarious. Then, when we attempted to do double-sided copies in the basement… well. We all decided that a new warning label should be added to prescription pain killer bottles.
With our marching orders in hand and supplies in tow, we went home. We’d communicated the situation to all volunteers as well as a reminder to not forget to set clocks forward in response to daylight savings time (OF COURSE!).
The next day, the hubs and I stepped up to lead and basically stayed out of the way of the volunteer team leads in setup, tear down, ushering, tech and kids church. Volunteer team leads saved my bacon when the guest speaker needed to add slides to the program (PANIC!) and completely handled all of the other details of the service. I stepped up to do announcements and hubs did the closing.
At the team lead prayer before service, we reiterated why a new layer of leadership was needed – us. Because THIS. Just as a growing plant needs to be transferred into a larger pot in order to sprout new growth, so too does a church plant need to grow and expand beyond a single pastor and a team of volunteers.
People were scared and skeptical and God provided the perfect opportunity to show our team why we needed to be there and that pastor and his wife weren’t going anywhere, either.
Change is scary, as we all found out this weekend. However, change is also inevitable. It is in these unexpected moments where people are allowed to shine if they have the courage to step up and out.