I can only assume that God truly does have a sense of humor. Sometimes I think it’s a twisted (in a godly sort of way, or course) sense of humor. I mean think about it. He came up with bright pink birds whose legs bend backwards. He created the platypus – the PLATYPUS. This is a mammalian creature that has a duck bill, hair, webbed feet, and lays eggs. It’s a mammal that can dispense venom. And it has a stupid name. Yeah. God has a sense of humor.
Further proof of this propensity is the fact that he moved the hearts of the men and women who worship at Reformation Alive Baptist Church to appoint me as one of their Elders. Yes, you read that correctly. I am an Elder (and I don’t just mean one of the oldest guys there) at Ref Alive Baptist Church.
I have constantly refused to pursue almost any kind of leadership role or title within the church. Operating on the edges is good enough for me. But one day several months ago, while I was minding my own business, I asked the pastor what I could do to help ease the transition that was taking place. If you take a look at one of the earlier articles, you will read about Ref Alive losing its pastor because he lost his day job (the Seminary he teaches at was not able to pay him or the other employees) and we couldn’t afford to make up the difference.
When I asked about what I could do to help, he said something to the effect of “The Elders want to present you for consideration for Elder to the church. Would you support that?” I agreed. Some five weeks later, after getting some questions from the congregation (I don’t think they had a lot to ask since they know pretty much where I stand on most things.) they voted unanimously to appoint me as an elder.
The task is frightening – or maybe humbling is a better word. The task makes watching the pimps devour their flocks on a daily basis even more outrageous, even more heartbreaking, even more infuriating. I study, pray more than I have ever prayed in the past, listen, and work really hard at giving thoughtful, consistent responses to questions and concerns. And I don’t even have an armor bearer.
When people in the congregation have problems I am there to listen, to pray with them, and if possible, to present a possible solution. As I said, it’s scary. But through the grace of God, and certainly not my own innate genius, I seem to be filling the role in a satisfactory manner. No one has complained about me yet. And I don’t think the baseball bat I carry around has anything to do with the lack of complaints.
As I said earlier, the original pastor, Eric Redmond, had to leave. His replacement, Billy Womack is a brand new pastor/vocational elder. And I mean brand new. This is his first pastorate; these are some of his first sermons. But like the man he replaced, you walk away from the sermons with the thought “Here’s where I need to change. This is what I need to pay attention to.” Billy has a full time job – eight hours or more a day, five days a week, week in and week out. Then he has to put ten to twelve hours into his sermon, every week, week in and week out. And did I tell you his wife just had a kid?
If you want to hear the results of his studying and his understanding of the Word of God, go to http://refalivesermons.wordpress.com. This is the kind of stuff we were getting when Eric was here.
If you are in the area, and you want to listen in person, come on by. Here’s the church information: www.refalive.com. We’re Reformed, Baptist, and want to help you to understand the meaning of holiness. Oh, and we’re really friendly too.