The movie “Chariots of Fire” tells the story of the great Scottish athlete Eric Liddell. He was not only an incredible runner–he won the men’s 400 meters at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris–but he was also a devoted follower of Christ who died on the mission field in China. One of Liddell’s most famous quotes is, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
Last night was the very first core group meeting for browns mill church. While I have been in local church ministry for over 13 years, I can truly say that God has shaped me for my current role and I can identify with Eric Liddell’s quote. For me, I feel God’s pleasure when I work alongside a leader in an environment of mutual respect and I am given the opportunity and the authority to put my skills and abilities toward seeing a shared vision fulfilled.
Tim Coleman, our lead pastor, and I are a team. We share the vision of browns mill church and feel it to the very core of our beings! I have an ownership of the vision because I have contributed to it from what God has laid on my heart. This drives me to throw my full weight behind it doing whatever is necessary to see it come to fruition. In past positions I have held this was not the case. In some of the churches I served, there was no vision to speak of (very frustrating!) and others had a vision that was hoarded by one person and no one else had an opportunity to contribute to it. This creates an environment where people feel like their hands are needed but not their brain. (Andy Stanley says, “For every pair of hands you hire, you get a free brain!”) Mutual respect is typically not a part of the equation, either, at least you don’t feel respected when you have no ownership or voice.
I am very thankful that God has called me to serve Him in this capacity. My desire is that I can now figure out how those who become a part of browns mill church can come to the point where they feel God’s pleasure because they are doing what they were shaped to do. I pray that I will be the type of leader who releases people to use their gifts and feel God’s pleasure!