Well, yesterday was Palm Sunday that fell on that silly holiday we have called April fool's day. Of course, the triumphal entry into the city of Jersusalem ahead of Jesus' death burial and resurrection was the focal point for my soul yesterday....loved how we sang HOSANNA which is what the people sang 2,000 years ago and literally means "SAVE". Our worship was great yesterday...could almost see Jesus riding into town on a donkey...but still my mind thought about April 1st...not because I wanted to play some joke (I'm really not any good at tricking someone into thinking something is true when it's not...just can't keep that kind of thing in...I want to tell people I'm just kidding before I tell them what I'm kidding about...just doesn't work).
To me, April 1 is the anniversary of our Executive Pastor, Mark Warren being on staff at Eastview. Yesterday marked 19 years for he and his wife Rachel! Nineteen years is an awesome long time to be in one place doing ministry and it says something about a person...here's what it says to me.
1. You are willing to grow! Mark could not have done this job 19 years ago...he was an associate in "new community" our old college/career age ministry, then he became small groups guy for the whole church, then he became a departmental director, then he became executive pastor. To stay somewhere for 19 years you have to be willing to grow, mature and learn new things about how God is using you in ministry. Mark has done that well.
2. You are loyal! Mark's value to me is several fold, but the thing I love about him most is that he is loyal to the ministry at Eastview and what God is doing here! I never worry that Mark has some ulterior motive for what he says or does because he cares mostly about the ministry of Eastview Christian Church and helping me lead...very cool.
3. You are family! Mark and I have a relationship that is more like being brothers than co-workers. Mark and I can have in depth conversation, disagree on things (strongly even), pray together, laugh together, talk trash to each other, share ministry experiences, etc.... When you hang around a place for 19 years, a famliy relationship exists.
4. You are patient! Of course, there have been ups and downs in the ministry here over the 19 years...some really tough, discouraging, polish up your resume' times! But Mark has prayed, served, met, planned, communicated and led his way through. He doesn't have to have instant results...he knows some things take time and you learn this when you stick around.
5. You are visionary! Mark and I have conversations about stuff that God may do here in the year 2025! Why? Because, when you've been somewhere for 19 years, your vision expands. You are able to see that somethings happen over a ten year period instead of "next Fall" and that allows you to vision (of course, as God will's and His Spirit leads) further into the future.
So here's to Mark Warren...April 1 anniversary....here's to another 19....and don't bother mentioning this blog to him...he doesn't read it...and that makes me smiile.