I think every pastor begins with a vision for a “church,” before reality comes crashing into that vision and forces the pastor to modify here, adjust there, drop this, add that, and nip a bit here and tuck a bit there. Before long that vision is overcome by events and has taken on a completely different appearance, I did not want this to happen to Catalyst and have kept it very simple to avoid these pit falls. The daily requirements of pastoring frequently interfere with the pastoral vision and the vision gets lost in the process and the church plant loses momentum and steam. This happens frequently.
They prepare you for this in seminary. Church planting books frequently mention it as a warning ahead, so I feel I was as prepared for life on mission as I could be or could be expected. When we arrived in Ironwood to plant Catalyst back in May, I had a pocket full of vision, a dream, a road map to get there I had worked on for around ten years or so and all the gusto to think it just might work if I was dumb enough and persistent enough in the face of opposition to continue when everyone else was telling me I was a fool. So far we have not changed the vision or the road map and things have been chugging right along.
Today, I witnessed a mustard seed of faith resulting in tears of joy and happiness beyond measure. I was privileged, with my mother, to deliver presents to DOVE Inc. http://www.dove-inc.net/ to make Christmas better for a family in Ironwood that needed it. As you can see below, my mother and an employee of DOVE Inc. assisted me in the delivery of three boxes, four bags, a bicycle, and a hand made set of blocks to name just a few of the items. There is too much to detail and it is not necessary that we do. What you are seeing is the Gospel of Jesus in action and Catalyst Baptist Church being the delivery vehicle. As pastor I cannot be more thrilled or honored to be a part of it.
The month of December is wonderful. What I have been blessed to witness in this small body of believers is enough to shake the foundations of those that refuse to believe. While there are only nine of us right now, ten with G-reg, we managed to raise $100.00 for the International Mission Board, otherwise known as the Lottie Moon fund. http://www.imb.org/main/lottie-moon/default.asp This money will support other Southern Baptist missionaries over seas as we do our part to take the Gospel of Jesus to the entire world.
We caroled at two retirement homes last week. We are discussing adding some more venues for this week, while helping those most desperate as we spread the Good News locally. I did not pick the name Catalyst on a whim. It was part of the vision to become a part of this community and change it through the power of the Holy Spirit. Like a mustard see, we are small in the beginning, but will grow much bigger through faith.
Thank you to all that have given so much of themselves to make the above things happen. You are truly demonstrating your awareness of this season not being about a financial bottom line and sales events. We celebrate the birth of Jesus this month because God gave us a gift in Jesus that repairs the damage caused by our sin. This gift does not grow old, tarnish, or wear out and this Christmas I ask everyone to remember and praise God, much as the heavenly host did, when announcing the birth of Jesus, our Savior.