Jimmy Smuda writes: I just got back from one of those staff retreats that make you feel you can really do something with the team that’s around you. For some (including me who is not a big “meetings” guy, but is growing into that role) it can be grueling. 11 hours of hashing, rehashing, coming full circle back to the original….hash! It can be absolutely exhausting. Especially if you’re in a room where you feel almost everyone thinks different then you do. See when you’re talking business, you WANT that. Different types of thinking. Churches are on a kick of “saying” they want that, but in all reality they all look, dress, act, think, plan, vision very similar. I have been a product and employee of such a system. I have worked at larger churches then “Beth” (Bethlehem Assembly of God, Valley Stream NY) , but very much surrounded by alot of “myselfs” <—(jimmy word)
“Beth” is the girlfriend I never thought I’d end up falling in love with (get over it, God described Israel as a she/her and the affectionate love for her) . I mean I knew I’d love aspects of her, but in the end wondered how long this relationship could/would last. Then 2 things began to happen a couple of years ago.
1. I began to see who I was NOT, and who they were, and recognized MY need to become more of THEM.
2. I realized who THEY were NOT, and saw the connection oh how God wanted to use ME to influence THEM.
(to do this, you must be intentional PRIDE KILLERS
THEY, and ME is becoming US (Forgive my improper use of the inglesh langwage)
Which means at 34 years old, and having been in ministry for almost 15 years that I’m finally understanding the principle behindÂ 1 Cor: 12:4-7, 11-13 “Diversity in Gifts”.
In a retreat with many different gifts, make ups, personalities and preferences I realized several key points.
1. God WILL (or may want to) call you to a place different then you, and outside of your personal preference.Â (this seems to be a dying thought amongst emerging leaders)Pastors, resist the urge to hire YOURSELF, or a yes man. I really love and respect my pastor who well knows our differences, and celebrates them.
2. There is power in the commingling of those who are (Progressive, modern, traditional, Post-modern, Hipster and whatever ridiculous category we can put on a demographic).
Again 1 Cor 12:4-7.
3. THIS type of thinking, and intentional gatherings (even staffing) is a true remedy for transforming and reaching communities with the relevant gospel.