It's always a great opportunity when you get to talk with someone who has been where you're goin in life. I've always admired and wanted to learn from pastor's who have been doin what I do a long time. Sometimes, I feel like I've been doing this preaching thing a long time and then I get to have supper with a guy and his wife like I did last night. Dave and Sheila Sawkins are a part of a huge group of people who have laid the foundation for what I build on.
Briefly, after 15 or so years preaching in New Mexico, he moved to what was then one of the biggest churches in America (Los Gatos Christian Church - they were running 6,000 in the 80's!) as an associate pastor. Not long after, he led a group from that church to plant another (with their blessing). Unfortunately, a moral failure of the preacher at Los Gatos sent the church into decline and after 17 years the church plant was thriving around 1,500 and the mother church was dying (600 in attendance). So about a year and a half ago, they combined congregations and are now Venture Christian Church. In those 17 years, Dave and Sheila have nurtured three struggling congregations back to health and ministered to thousands. Last night he spent three hours at supper sharing his leadership and preaching wisdom with a younger new fan of his (and I appreaciated it very much).
We've been reading through Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders and the questions have been very intriguing and spurred on great conversation. Oh, and it's easy to to think clearly when you're looking at the beach:-) Sorry for my midwest friends who are having snow today...but it's true.