Pastor Brian Homan’s Devotion for June 20, 2019

Our read­ing for this Thurs­day, June 20, 2019 is Romans 12:3–5.

3 For by the grace giv­en me I say to every one of you: Do not think of your­self more high­ly than you ought, but rather think of your­self with sober judg­ment, in accor­dance with the mea­sure of faith God has giv­en you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many mem­bers, and these mem­bers do not all have the same func­tion, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each mem­ber belongs to all the oth­ers. NIV

I apol­o­gize up front for what I write this morn­ing. I am in the midst of tran­si­tion in my life as I retire from my present pas­toral appoint­ment. My tran­si­tion shades my per­cep­tion of the pas­sages I dis­cuss. My com­ments are direct­ed toward those com­mit­ted in faith today and active with­in the min­istry of a church some­where. 

I came home from a Tran­si­tion meet­ing last evening rather hum­bled. I was asked to pro­vide the vision I had for Liv­er­pool First when I began my tenure five years ago. My response was not very spir­i­tu­al, but prag­mat­ic — men­tion­ing the sys­temic change need­ed of sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of orga­ni­za­tion and deci­sion mak­ing, pri­or­i­tiz­ing and coor­di­nat­ing of pro­gram, and the devel­op­ment of the min­istry of con­gre­ga­tion­al care. While I believe what I shared was accu­rate each of these def­i­n­i­tions required expla­na­tion and that is not what the body need­ed or was look­ing for. They reflect­ed process and not vision.

Vision is less tech­ni­cal and more inspi­ra­tional in terms of express­ing hope and aspi­ra­tion. I was dis­ap­point­ed with myself for the response I gave. My vision has been to help the church embrace the change it need­ed to restore vital­i­ty in its fel­low­ship, deep­en­ing of faith and capac­i­ty to make dis­ci­ples. I can try to paci­fy my dis­ap­point­ment with my response by acknowl­edg­ing my sur­prise and unpre­pared­ness to respond to the ques­tion I was asked, but I know I could have been clear­er and pro­vid­ed a more help­ful response.

The point I am mak­ing is not in sup­port of my assess­ment I made at that meet­ing, but rather my assess­ment of myself. I aspire to be bet­ter than how I pre­sent­ed myself before the lead­er­ship of the church. My response was not help­ful and the prob­lem I wres­tled with after­wards had more to do with myself than what was need­ed. I believe I was attempt­ing to jus­ti­fy my lead­er­ship of the con­gre­ga­tion dur­ing my tenure rather than help­ing the lead­er­ship dis­cern a vision for what God may want to accom­plish with and through them. 

We often times get in our own way. We want to think more of our­selves than is appro­pri­ate. The point is not about us per­son­al­ly but the cor­po­rate us as a body of part­ners in min­istry. While this pas­sage has often been used to assist peo­ple with accept­ing the var­ied gift­ed­ness God has giv­en them to encour­age ser­vice in the church it is also meant to pro­vide per­spec­tive on our role in the big­ger pic­ture of God’s unfold­ing plan. 

We are part of the body of Christ, the church, but we are only a part. And while our part is nec­es­sary and need­ed we are only a part of a part­ner­ship with oth­er peo­ple gift­ed by God that togeth­er can accom­plish what God wants to do with­in and through us. So do not think you are nev­er need­ed or dimin­ish the impor­tant role you play in God’s vision, but at the same time accept the lim­its of your role. We may each have our per­son­al agen­das but unless we dis­cov­er a com­mon agen­da we will only spin our wheels. We each need grace to accept our role and work with oth­ers to ful­fill the dream of mak­ing dis­ci­ples of Jesus.

It is my hope that as I move on to lead anoth­er con­gre­ga­tion and to hope­ful­ly plant a cou­ple new faith com­mu­ni­ties that the church I leave behind me will real­ize their poten­tial. As my read­ers come from vary­ing church­es and denom­i­na­tions it is my prayer we embrace a greater pic­ture for what the church should be in our time and place. Like indi­vid­u­als we as church­es must accept our hum­ble role in the big­ger pic­ture of God’s unfold­ing plan to redeem the world. 

We must do our part but nev­er suc­cumb to some vision of our impor­tance. We remain part­ners with God and with one anoth­er.

Bless­ings! Dr. Bri­an Homan