Friday, September 10, 2010

Pace of the Leaders, Pace of the Church

My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. -- Romans 9:2-3 (NLT)

As we step into another ministry season this weekend with Vision Sunday, I am as excited as ever for the year that God has for us. I don’t want you to miss this weekend as we will clearly lay out both the direction we are headed as a church and the values we believe God has called us to prioritize for the journey. Vision Sunday is always one of my favorite Sundays of the year, and it is a great Sunday for you to invite friends and family who are either searching for a church home or wondering who Jesus is and what it means to follow him in the context of community.

The leadership (paid and unpaid staff) at PCC senses and believes that God has a significant year in store for us. We enter the year with a full and unified staff team, a clear vision, and a holy trepidation as we step into our future. We also are facing a formidable challenge. During our largest Sunday gathering, Sunday at 10:30 AM, both parking lots are filling up--as are the streets around PCC--and we are turning away too many cars. These aren’t PCC regulars that we are turning away, these are mostly guests.

Stop and ponder with me that does it sit with you? The fact that we turn cars away is not a trophy; it is a statement of poor stewardship. Todd Gumbrecht, our Connection Pastor who oversees the Parking Team, has researched the situation and presented to the Council the PCC Shuttle as a remedy to this challenge. The Shuttle is for PCC regulars, especially those of us who stay on campus for both hours on Sunday morning. The PCC Shuttle is a professional 24-seat air conditioned coach that will run loops all morning long between PCC’s front lot and the Roosevelt Elementary School parking lot on McGarvey Avenue (about 1/2 mile from PCC).

We have been presenting our problem, explaining the benefits of the shuttle and asking for our regulars to commit to sign up. For whatever reason, sign-ups have been lagging. I know this is a minor inconvenience (for well over a year I myself have been parking in a satellite lot off the PCC campus, and I must confess I feel a bit embarrassed to call a 10-minute delay in coming to PCC due to parking offsite and driving in a state-of-the-art air-conditioned shuttle an inconvenience!), but I want all of us to read Romans 9:2-3 above and look at the “inconvenience” Paul was willing to endure, going to Hell forever, so that his Jewish brothers and sisters could be exposed to the Gospel.

There is a Kingdom-principle here church. In God’s economy, growth always comes through sacrifice. (Mt 16:25, Luke 9:23, John 12:24, 2 Corinthians 11:16-33). Imagine you and I having a conversation with Paul in heaven one day and him talking about how all those earthly inconveniences were worth it, and he turns to us and asks, “What scars did you bear to bring the Gospel to people?” I tell our leadership all the time, “Pace of the leaders, pace of the church!” I would never ask anything of you that I don’t try to model. Would you pray about joining me in parking offsite so more guests can park onsite and come to know and follow Jesus?

This Sunday, if you are a PCC regular and you have not signed up for the shuttle, would you please visit Todd at the Welcome Table in the back of the sanctuary and sign up?

Want to prep for Vision Sunday? Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. We’ve prayed up, we’ve prepped hard, and are ready to step into the Fall. You ready? I’ll look forward to seeing you on Sunday.