Last evening Pastor Nate and I, along with a few hundred other pastors, church workers, and guests gathered for worship at our District Convention in Irvine, CA. It is a joy to be with brothers and sisters in the faith at events like this!
The Convention theme is “Chosen for this Moment” from John 15:16. Preparing for worship, I read that section of scripture. (I know, that sounds kind of dorky, but hey -consider it a vocational hazard.) In the context of that day teachers didn’t pick students – the students picked their teachers. They would first visit the students of a certain rabbi, listen to the teaching and then choose which rabbi they wanted to follow. Jesus reversed that order among his followers by saying, ‘”You did not choose me, but I chose you.” They did not pick him, He picked them and appointed them that they should “go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”
This text has a threefold emphasis. First – Go! There is a going in the believer’s life that is different as they move from place to place. The believer moves through life with a sense of purpose and mission, and recognizes that wherever they go, God is present. Second – Bear Fruit! Simply put, Jesus is looking for results – spiritual fruit from and in our lives. Third – ‘that your fruit should remain.’ Jesus calls people to follow Him into service. Jesus is the source of our life. He is the one giving through us fruit. We’re the branches, and we can’t produce fruit alone. You and I are to remain connected to Jesus Christ.
As we do that, and seek to bear fruit for him, we don’t go it alone. Like so many things, it takes everyone collectively doing his or her part to succeed. In other words, teamwork makes the dream work.
In Acts 6, Luke records for us the first instance of this taking place in the church. The church was growing, the gospel was spreading and different needs started to arise. The twelve disciples could not meet all the needs that had arisen and still be effective at doing what God had called them to do. So, they appointed seven others to play their part on the team in order that the twelve could continue to play their part. With everyone working together towards the goal, Luke tells us, “the word of God spread.” (Acts 6:7). Because of their teamwork, they were able to see the church continue to grow and the gospel continue to spread throughout the world.
Today I am so grateful that two among us have been chosen in a special way for the next chapter of our ministry. Jamie Wolf, has accepted a full time position on our staff, as our Children’s Ministry Director. If you already know her, you may be thinking – “What? I thought she WAS full-time!” (She is a hard working servant – I thought the same thing when I got to Summit!) Jamie’s repositioning to full time is part of Summit’s growing investment in our next generation of Christ followers. In future weeks, you’ll hear more about the significant improvements and intentional upgrades we are making in children’s ministry.
I’m also delighted that Ashlynd Vaughn has accepted a part-time position with us, Worship Arts Associate. In this newly created role, Ashlynd will lead Youth Worship Teams that serve in our Apex environment, and will work to develop young ministry leaders. It was a pleasure to join our young people in praying over her, and blessing her as she begins this new role among us.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy….(Phil. 1:3-4)
See you Sunday,