This morning we were honored to gather at our home church and celebrate with people from over 50 nations....a group of Mennonite and Anabaptist churches that are celebrating 90 years of ministry in the DC/Baltimore region. I remember the 80th anniversary and actually wrote about it here.
I spent the first 15 years of my life in an Assemblies of God church and the last 20 years in a Mennonite Church. I graduated from a Pentecostal college and ordained with the Lancaster Mennonite conference. I'm Mennocostal. In fact, I wrote about that here.
It was such an electric morning. A grand celebration. Tricia and I are so glad we were stateside for this. Here were my remarks in the service this morning (thought I would save them here for when we reach the 100th and can reflect back).
It was 20 years ago last month that my family first attended CCF— the first day it was operating under that name.
This morning I stand before you as a leader shaped and nurtured by a congregation within this district. As a young man in the youth ministry, I was welcomed to explore and express the gifting and calling I had sensed since I was a young child.
Then, in 2004 we were invited as a young married couple to serve as Associate Pastor of this congregation for 2 years, followed by 5 years as Lead Pastor. How grateful we are for your trust and empowering and encouragement. But also for your grace and forgiveness.
How deeply grateful we are for leaders like Lew, Wilmer, Dave, Helen & Glenn, Caleb and Glenn.
Our lives are fruit of what was started 90 years ago. Because after years of preparation, we were sent out from you as ambassadors on the mission field. We have just completed our first 5 years in Africa. We are sons and daughters of this house and this district. We are gladly sent and boldly going with your backing, your prayers and your finances.
As a result….we have been able to join with leaders making disciples and planting churches in South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and beyond.
You have taught us something…not so much with your words, but with your actions.
You have taught us a principle and a value that we will carry the remainder of our days….and here it is: It is Not what you collect and count for YOUR credit, but what you release and mobilize for the credit of the one who matters most…JESUS! I see this movement as an example of this. You give away. In all these years, I have seen no big shot. No big show. Just a cluster of faithful and compassionate churches generously and consistently following and serving Jesus. Thank you for not seeking glory, but distributing it. We are honored to be family with you.
I leave you with a word about the future…the road ahead between 90 and 100 years.
Let’s work together more, shall we?
Let’s passionately spend ourselves and our resources on urgently announcing the kingdom of Jesus to a world begging for it?
Let’s take some risks, shall we? That may mean we break some rules and get ourselves into trouble here and there. But I think we will have some fun too.
How about this? By the time we gather here to celebrate 100 years anniversary, may the prophetic words of Hab 2:14 be true and accomplished…that that glory of God would cover the earth like the water covers the seas!