Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Health Of The Local Church

This photo is a picture of the health of the local church.

I remember the meeting as if it were yesterday. It was February 2011. I sat among our “leaders of leaders” - our Church Trustees - as they met to discuss what could be called any number of things - a leadership pipeline, a succession plan, a contingency plan, a plan for the future - any and all of those and more. I was so impressed that our men and women of our church were thinking this way. They were asking God “what if” - “what’s next” and so much more.

Fast forward to 3 short years later (April 2014), and I’m pretty sure no one in that room in February 2011 pictured what would be.

I took this photo a week or so ago.

On the left is Jim Baker. Jim has served as my Executive Pastor, direct supervisor, and friend for the past 10 years. He has spoken truth into my life, he has advised me, he has encouraged me, he has counseled me, he has served me, he has taught me, he has loved me (even in times when I didn’t deserve it) - he has seen me at my best, and he has seen me at my worst. He is one of the most self-less people I have ever met. This man’s love for God and His Church is incomparable.

Jim is retiring this month. He won’t ever really retire - he’s just moving into his next season of life where I believe he will have an even greater impact on the Kingdom.

On the right is Brian Dodridge. Brian was hired to be the Associate Executive Pastor a couple of years ago - to learn from Jim and to serve specific roles in the administration and organization of our church. Brian is now moving into Jim’s role as Executive Pastor.

In my final official meeting with Jim, we discussed (with Brian in the room) those things (between me and Jim) that Brian needed to know moving forward. It was a fascinating meeting - a “passing of the baton” - a picture of what has been and what is to come - all in the room at the same time. I asked them if I could take this photo. They looked at me kinda funny, then I took the picture.

This picture is very important to me. This picture is a picture of the health of the local church. This picture is intentional. This picture is necessary. One man with great experience and wisdom, handing off what he has learned to the younger man. The younger man will now lead our church into the future.

Jim is 62. Brian is 38.

I told my son this week that I am 24 years older than my new boss. He asked me if that was weird. I told him absolutely not - I couldn’t be more excited about it!