April 2018

Over the years, I have been fascinated to see how different trees grow in different places. When I lived in Kentucky, I remember seeing more cedar trees than when I moved south. When I moved to Laurel, I was in awe of the pine trees that towered ever upward. When I moved to New Orleans, I was struck by the broad limbs of the water oaks. When I visited Honduras, I was in awe of mango and banana trees that I hardly ever saw grow in the United States were everywhere.
Trees seem to naturally grow in their own native soil. Now a person may try to plant a tree from one place to another with varying degrees of success, but it seems to me that some plants are just indigenous to a particular location. Some things just grow better in a certain conditions than others. Somehow they are just supposed to be there. They grow naturally in particular environments.
As your pastor, let me say that I think ministry is like trees. Some ministry spouts up better in some environments than others. A one size fits all approach to ministry in a particular location and a particular church doesn’t exist. Every church and town is like different soil. This area is full of wonderful peculiarities that need to be appreciated. I believe my job as pastor in part is to discern what Godly visions are growing up naturally in people’s hearts at Main Street Methodist Church.
One of my favorite verses in scripture is Joel 2:28 where God promises “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” That phrase “all flesh” is striking. That means everybody, male, female, young and old. At this moment, I assure you that the Holy Spirit is speaking to each of us. He has placed a unique vision and dream within each of us that is meant to be shared to benefit our collective mission together. Each of us has something to share ourselves. All of us have someone else’s dream to encourage.
I have to be honest with all of you. Over the years, the best ideas I have had in ministry have come from listening to what God was doing in the hearts of other people. My best work over the years always has been when I amplify the faint whispers of the Holy Spirit that were already lodged in the heart of a saint somewhere I was serving. We will move forward as we all actively engage the Lord together seeking what he wants for us to accomplish. Together we need to discern what God given dreams and visions grow best in the native soil around the Bay.