Now that the doors of Hope Chapel Hill Country were closed forever I put all my eggs in one basket by hoping against all hope, that the congregation of Community Church of the Hills in Johnson City, Texas, would want me as their pastor. The YES/NO vote was scheduled for Sunday, August 30, 2015. But before the people voted, this is what I told them they could expect from me…. Please start this series at Part 1 by clicking here.
Here is the “talk” I gave before the private ballot vote that would determine whether I would continue in vocational ministry as a pastor. (Click to find out what “Vote for Pedro means.)
A Vision for Community Church of the Hills
I want to start off this morning by saying thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to preach the past seven weeks and for allowing me to get to know a little of this body of believers in this fellowship called Community Church of the Hills.
I have been blessed in getting to know you and I consider it a great honor that you would consider me for the awesome responsibility of being your pastor.
So, this morning, before you make your decision, I’d like to give you a partial vision of what you can expect from me concerning the future of CCH. Of course, I want to preface all of this by saying, “God-willing.”
Proverbs 19:21—Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 16:9— In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the LORD establishes their steps.
The vision I have for this community can only come about if God is willing. I want to do his will, not my own, so that we all can bring glory, praise and honor to the one who has saved us and has given us a hope and a future.
The Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5, gives some general guidelines of what is expected of one who pastors a flock and I’d like us to read it as a reminder of the standard God sets.
1 Peter 5:1-3—To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
In verse 1, Peter appeals to the elders of the church, that is, he is exhorting them to be shepherds of God’s flock. The word elder is interchangeable with the word pastor or overseer.
Elder is the official title of the office. Overseer emphasizes the function of their leadership: to look after the flock. The term pastor describes what he is to do: feed the flock by teaching them the word of God and care for them.
These are mature, spiritual men, who can lead and feed the church.
We have three elders in this congregation, Joe, Bill and Dan. I have had the great privilege of meeting with them every week as we discuss the future of this church.
They are good, trustworthy men who have given me a pretty clear overview of this church’s history and what we need to do to further Christ’s ministry.
Please understand that I will be one of the elders, serving alongside these fine men who are accountable to God, each other, and to you.
As shepherds of God’s flock, then, we are to watch over this fellowship.
I love to call and meet with the members of this congregation, not to butt in, but to check in and check on how you are doing. We want to know how we can pray for you, how we can help you through God’s Word and encourage you practically. We do this, not because we must, not because someone is making us do this, but because we are willing.
We want to do this with integrity, not for dishonest gain, but because we want to serve you. Elders have the great honor of being the chief servants in this congregation, not lording it over y’all, not bossing you around and telling you how it is, but by being good examples.
Bill, Joe and Dan have been those kind of men, and I aspire to be the same. None of us is perfect, of course, we will all fall short, yet by the grace of God we will be able to minister, like David, as it is said about him in Psalm 78:72—And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
With that said, I’d like to let you know what you can expect from me as a fellow elder who pastors and teaches.
First and foremost, let me tell you what I believe in a nutshell. I can only cover 7 basics in such a short amount of time.
7 Basic Doctrines I Believe
1. Jesus is God in the flesh, the 2nd person of the Trinity, and salvation is only through Him. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
2. He has given us his Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.
3. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, through Christ alone.
4. I believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
5. The Bible is inspired by God, without error, and is our only standard for faith and practice.
That is why I believe in expository preaching, teaching the Bible verse by verse in context, and bringing out application for today. I believe in teaching through whole books of the Bible so that we can get the whole counsel of God, not my opinion.
6. God is in control over every aspect of life.
7. The Christian’s purpose on earth is to win nations, families and individuals to Jesus Christ so that they do not go to a literal Hell.
My 3 Priorities
I also believe that my priorities should be in this order: God. Family. Church. The work of the ministry is never ending, it will always be there. I want to make sure that my family is there, too, at the end of the day.
My two main goals for Community Church of the Hills at the outset is to preach the Word and to raise up leaders to do the work of the ministry.
Preaching God’s Word is the pastor’s highest priority. Why? Because it’s God’s Word; He still speaks today. How? Through his Word, the bible.
Charles Spurgeon: May I beg you carefully to judge every preacher, not by his gifts, not by his [eloquence] not by his status in society, not by the respectability of his congregation, not by the prettiness of his church, but by this – does he preach the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation? If he does, your sitting under his ministry may prove to you the means of [birthing] faith in you. But if he does not, you cannot expect God’s blessing.
Though I attempt to make every teaching interesting, my primary purpose is to preach the Word accurately. I will not repeatedly bring up any theological hobby horses, pet peeves or questionable points of doctrine, but I want to strike a conservative middle ground.
A good rule of thumb that I’d like us all to follow is contained in this statement: “In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity.”
The other main goal is to raise up leaders. Why? That’s also my main job.
Ephesians 4:11-12—So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
I also want to assist and encourage those who are already doing the work of the ministry and help however I can.
I want to be available to offer encouragement, prayer and counsel whenever it’s needed or will recommend you to someone else who is gifted in pastoral care.
1. I want our church to be active in Johnson City and I will be also. Essentially, I want Community Church of the Hills to reach JC for JC!
2. As you may already know, I have an evangelism gifting and I can help you find your best fit in sharing the Good News. You may want to use Gospel tracts or learn how to share one on one.
3. I’d like to gently pull you out of your comfort zone for Jesus’ sake.
4. Our church belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and I will attend their meetings to see what we can do to help within the business community.
5. I want to go door-to-door to all the businesses and ask how we can pray for them. Then follow up to see how God has answered.
7. Also, I think it would be great to sponsor the many community events that happen every year.
8. We certainly need a float in the parades, even if it’s just a flatbed that we’re all sitting on!
9. I have already met the Athletic Director of LBJ High, Tom Braden, and we are getting together for lunch to discuss how our church can be more involved in the high school. He asked if I would be willing to give a team devotional before the games.
10. I want to get to know the police and sheriffs in the area and see if they need a chaplain. And to let them know we are praying for them.
11. I can’t wait to meet the other pastors in our local Ministerial Alliance and offer our service to them, and to help the other churches by praying for them each week and to assure them that we are not in the business of sheep-stealing.
12. Joe has worked it out where I will be able to write a short article every other week in the Johnson City Record Courier.
13. We’ve already started work on a new website.
14. We’ll have a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
15. I have a few more ideas but time doesn’t permit. But I do also want to say that we need to have a RELAUNCH EVENT to let people know that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in this church.
We have a very unique position in this area: Out of the eleven churches in Johnson City, we are the only conservative, non-denominational, non-Pentecostal fellowship.
For those who want to be accepted as they are, this will be the go-to place. You are such a loving and committed congregation, everyone should want to be here.
But the bottom line to remember this: God-willing.
James 4:13-15—13—Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.
• Do you think God is willing for us to reach out for him?
• Do you think God is willing that we love one another, deeply from the heart?
• Do you think God is willing for us to greater works than Jesus in this community?
With that said, I want to give some time to answer any questions you may have, then we will turn the service over to our elders.
The vote was taken. And the results? Click here to find out in the conclusion.
Image Credit: “Vote for Steve”: passthelightmovie.tumbler.com; “JC Market Days”: www.sanantoniomag.com