I have read some great books throughout my college and seminary days. I must say that reading is not something that I enjoy doing, but it is something that I must do as a Christian and a pastor. I have read some good books this summer: The Costly Call by Emir Caner and Ed Pruitt and Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur. I would highly recommend each of these books for your benefit and personal growth in the Lord.
Tim, Jeth and I read the MacArthur book together for our staff meeting and used it for some discussion. We are in the process of reading a book that seemingly is changing my outlook on ministry in general and specifically what we do here at HGBC. The book is entitled The Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. After I am through reading it, I believe that I am going to require all leaders at HGBC to read it and then evaluate what we are here for as a church and why we do what we do. At this point I would recommend it to any pastor, staff and church leader; I believe it will greatly benefit your ministry.
Jesus came and fought against, stood in opposition to the religious establishment of His day. He presented a very "simple" way of life compared to a very complicated way of life. His ministry was simplistic in nature verses the complicated requirements of the religious leaders of His day. I believe we have taken the place of the Pharisees in our churches today. We have bogged down the people of God. I believe Jesus would come to us and say "simplify" your lives. Simplify your church and ministry. Focus on one thing and do it with excellence.
I have talked a lot about excellence since coming to HGBC in November of 2005. I think that we are doing a few things with excellence, but I believe their is room for great improvement in other areas of ministry. How do we bring excellence to these other areas of ministry? I believe the answer is focus. What do we focus on here at HGBC? What do you focus on in your life or church?
We have a three step purpose at HGBC: Exalting the Savior, Equipping the Saint, Evangelizing the sinner. I believe that is exactly what we are here for. It should be our focus; it should be our life as the children of God. Another way of communicating this purpose is: Loving God, Loving Others and Serving the World ("Cross Church" in The Simple Church). I like that. That is the same purpose we have only worded slightly different. But it works! It is something that we all can internalize. It is something we can all accomplish in our lifetime.
All God is looking for is found in that statement of purpose. Exalting the Savior is Loving God. Equipping the Saint is Loving Others. Evangelizing the Sinner is Serving the World. I pray that that is all we seek to do, and I pray that you find fulfillment in it.