The First Thank You
I experienced a weird and wonderful "first" last night. The church was holding its monthly council meeting. The Conference Superintendent, Evelyn Johnson asked if she and some staff people could make a presentation about the long-range vision for the conference. I said yes for two reasons: I really like and admire Evelyn and it's the right and loyal thing to do. We are part of a larger body called the conference and local church leadership should be aware of how their money is being spent and what future requests they can anticipate coming from the conference. I know this behavior. After 26 years of pastoring in 3 other conferences, I know how it works.
But Evelyn shocked me when she began with a long list of thanks to Montecito Covenant Church. She thanked the church for the amount of money it has given to the conference for the last ten years...down to the dollar!! She thanked them for planting Ocean Hills and releasing our former Youth Pastor to be church planter. She thanked them for letting go of the core families who went and began that church. She said: "You have given a lot to this conference and we are so grateful." I've never heard that before. I don't think I can recall a visit from a superintendent to any church I've served that was so thankful.
Then a new church planter John Teter, told his story of saalvation, finding a church and planting a church in Los Angeles. Wow! We were on the edge of our seats hearing the story of God's good news in his life being spread toother lives. This new church, in it's 2 preview service, already has plans to staff church planters for the next church they are going to launch. I can get behind this.
Then Jeff Lee, a World Vision staff person told his story of finding the Covenant and falling in love. He told of how the conference has grown and now believes God is calling us to plant 10 churches in California each year for the next 10 years. The three of them talked for about 45 minutes, leaving behind them a wake of energy and gratitude, excitement to be a part of vital kingdom work. Sweet!