It’s extremely difficult for me to convey what last week meant to me. I spent the week in Montana with eighteen other pastors, and it was foundational. All the pastors are vetted not only for similar doctrine, but also for similar philosophy of ministry, and in one of our sessions, we talked about how strongly we believe that America needs churches like ours.
Let’s make it real… we believe Temecula needs a church like ours.
Or else, what are we doing here? We have close to a billion other churches in our valley. Close. When classmates of mine change the churches that they pastor, the church inevitably starts looking more like the rest of the mainstream. I’m not always sure what distinguishes churches from each other anymore.
The pressure to change comes in areas like music, Bible, number of services, and being more casual. If you’re looking at the direction of most changes, it trends toward more worldliness, not less. I’m not saying every change is worldly, I’m saying that most changes are toward that direction. Seldom away.
So a meeting like last week is important for the direction of our church, and we need others to constantly sharpen our thinking when we are tempted to change without thinking through the change.
My dad (our founding pastor) attended fellowship meetings every year so that he could receive sharpening through preaching and through stimulating conversation. We have even hosted a couple of those meetings, and every time, it’s been a blessing for the attendees. Pastors come from all over the U.S. and stay a week together, staying up late into the night to chat with friends who understand what they are going through. Then each night, someone opens the Word and preaches to preachers.
I believe Calvary Baptist Church is doing basically the same thing today as we set out to do as a church in 1987: connecting your life to God. We’re preaching God’s Word, singing biblical hymns, loving the lost, and ministering to the needy every week, and it takes work to stay the same.
I don’t know how many battles Dad had to fight over the years, but I know the pressure is to conform to the world, and I know he fought plenty of those battles. We don’t enjoy what we have today without drawing some lines, and it’s hard to draw those lines if you’re the only one standing. My dad had friends whom he fellowshipped with that were doing all the same things he was doing, and they sharpened him. In fact, we were at Rocky Mountain Baptist Church in Kalispel on Wednesday, where, today is the founding pastor’s retirement after staying 28 years and building an incredible church. Pastor Dan Lydick is one of those decades-long friends of my dad, and he was a tremendous help to other pastors.
Last week, I got to receive the same kind of sharpening from my friends and peers, and I pray that I represented you well by bringing some sharpening to others, as well.
Temecula needs Calvary Baptist Church. We exist as a beacon of hope in a powerful God to a needy world.
Go shine that light to others this week.