Monday, March 19, 2012

Praying for your pastor...

I don't think I ever understood how important it is to pray for your pastor until we moved to California. It's strange that it took that long to click in for me since I grew up in a pastor's home. Perhaps it was too familiar or perhaps it was because I was a child and didn't realize the implications of holding the position of "Pastor". I don't know, but I see it in a different light now and I thought I'd shed some light on it for you, too.

Sometimes I will get the question, "So what does your husband do the rest of the week? Does he have another job?"

I smile graciously and say something like, "Ummm, no. It's pretty much full-time with some strict boundaries in place or it would bleed over into every nook & cranny of our 24 hour lives."

I think of Andy's position, not so much as a job or a career-move or a paycheck, but as a calling on his life, our lives, and our family. We take very seriously the vision and responsibility that God has given us.

When Andy stands up to preach on Sunday, he doesn't do it flippantly but with a heavy understanding that he is serving as God's voice to our church. When Andy makes decisions about the future of our church, he thinks it over a million times, prays about it, journals out options, talks to other pastors and mentors, and collaborates with his staff. He is extremely calculated and strategic because he realizes what's at stake. Making a profit is not what's driving him to perform at his very best; it's the understanding that people's lives are on the line.

How we follow up with first time guests, whether parents and kids have a positive experience with Bay Kids, the percentage of people who are connected into serving and life groups vs those who remain anonymous and could easily slip through the cracks...those are the things that keep Andy up at night.

With any type of spiritual leadership comes increased levels of spiritual attack. There is a very real (though mostly unseen) spiritual battle taking place. And while it feels awkward to write about it on this blog, it is a real part of our lives. Jesus said that if you strike the shepherd the sheep will scatter. And you better believe that Satan got that memo. Pastors are prime people for Satan to attack, because if he can get to them, the rippling effect is much greater. I don't want to go into details, but there is no doubt a heightened sense of spiritual activity surrounds Andy's life and our family, especially around seasons of growth for our church and big decisions.

South Bay is in one of those seasons right now. More and more people are attending South Bay and we are hearing stories of how God is changing so many lives right now. We are also less than 3 weeks away from Easter, which is always an intense time. On top of that we are in the process of renovating and preparing to move into our new facility in the next couple months. We believe that there will be a big influx of growth during that time as we open up additional seats and make room for more people to come.

All of this is very exciting and we are praising God for His hand that is clearly on South Bay right now. But we also feel the need to prepare ourselves spiritually for what lies ahead.

That's why Andy & Filipe felt led to do a 21 day fast (drinking only juice & water) leading up to Easter. Mandy & I are joining them by doing a Daniel Fast for the first half and a juice fast for the second half. We want to prepare our hearts for what God wants to do. We are reminding ourselves (and making sure Satan knows) that there is nothing that we want more than to see God move. We would give up anything and do whatever it takes so that more people could understand the love and hope and peace that God freely offers them.

We are praying for our church, for our city, and for a fresh movement of God that will blow our minds.

So, could I ask you a favor? Will you pray for us as we pray for you? Let's get serious about seeing God's Spirit unleashed.

For a 31 Day guide to praying for your pastor, click here

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