Nostalgia

by pastortimfowler

Every now and then, I wake up feeling nostalgic. I was reading through some old sermon notes and remembering some of the early years of my ministry. It is so funny to see where my focus was then and where it is now. My first church was a small country church that was literally built by a few families in the church. They were located in an area that was no longer a farming community but had become a part of the sprawl of city growth. They needed to change and re-focus.
My sermons and teachings were focused on trying to get the people who grew up in that church to see their need to change in order to reach the new demographics. I could tell the times that they were getting it and the times that they were resisting it. I could tell the times when I felt encouraged and the times that I felt like stepping in front of a moving train. But for the most part it was a great time of learning to trust God. He was preparing me for something better.
One of the big differences between then and now is the presence of my children. They were growing up then and were always at church. They were the core of the youth group and that meant fun times for the youth pastor. Now all of my kids are grown and have children of their own and attend church elsewhere. As much as I loved them being part of my church and ministry, I know that they are relieved to not be the center of the attention.
Although I had made some good friends and had some good co-workers in the past ministries, there is nothing like what I am doing now. I do believe that if I could sit down with God and draw up plans for my perfect church to pastor, that this one would be it. Not that there isn’t challenges, but the style of ministry is perfectly suited for who I am. Looking back on some old ministries just made me realize this even more.
It would be hard to think of ever serving anywhere else. The people here are genuine and are learning to take ownership of their church. Not in the way that results in negative attitudes towards change, but in a way that represents the love and hospitality of our people. I can’t wait to look back on this in years to come when that nostalgic feeling hits me, and I will be able to see the amazing journey of The Body, A Church for Anybody, as it began to blossom into an incredible work of God.
Before I end this, I want to tell you that there are two consistencies that have always given me hope and motivation. First is God who has given wisdom as needed, grace, more abundant that all my screw ups, and keeps the fire inside me burning with His love. Secondly and just as consistent is my wife. I have been blessed with someone who is my partner through thick and thin and she loves the Lord as much as I do and loves His people. I would not and could not be the pastor that I am without her.
Thanks God for the memories…Now, back to work!

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