Monday, September 20, 2010

"Brother, you've got it going on!"

Hmm - long time no blog. It's been since Thursday. I must be off my game... Or maybe I was off flying the friendly skies, meeting cool and fascinating people in Atlanta?

The answer is number two. Atlanta; Decatur; men's ministry; great church; a most excellent weekend indeed.

DATELINE: DECATUR - First Baptist Church in Decatur (that's the top right-hand side of Atlanta, around three-o'clock on the perimeter) is a cutting-edge faith community. Three years ago the church became the most prominent Southern Baptist congregation to call a women - Julie Pennington-Russell (JPR)- as their senior pastor/lead pastor. The Convention responded by booting the approximately 2,000 member church from their roles.

I remember reading about the brouhaha (The Christian Post: Baptist Megachurch Makes History Electing Woman to Pulpit). "I'd really like to meet that pastor," I thought at the time.

This past weekend I was invited to JPR's church to speak briefly at both services, teach a Sunday-School class, and lead an afternoon retreat for the emerging men's ministry.

AUTHENTICITY: If there's one word to describe both the church and its senior pastor, it's "authentic". I felt at home at First Baptist. Not because I grew up Baptist in England, but because I attend an authentic, Jesus-animated, Spirit-filled, God-blessed church at home in Brandon. The preaching at FBD - like FPCBrandon - was dynamic and the congregation bursting with life.

My host, Bob Waters (pictured at right), was a joy to be with. Bob simply bubbles with positive energy; his passion for faith and his love for the church seem to fill every pore; bottom line, Bob leaks Jesus.

It was a long afternoon. I gave two lectures, facilitated two break-out sessions, and concluded with a 30-minute message. But the men present were patient, gracious, attentive and encouraging.

ENCOURAGEMENT: One moment I just have to share today. During my conclusion I talked about the Gourmet Initiative, and my idea that the way we live out our faith can be inventive in the same way: featuring the best quality, the freshest ingredients, and a commitment to make the most - 100% - out of everything we're involved in.

I thought that my point was communicating, but I wasn't completely sure... However, I soon set aside my doubts after one man raised his hands in the air with enthusiasm and shouted out, "BROTHER, YOU'VE GOT IT GOING ON!"

Love and blessings - DEREK


b4pensacol said...

You truly have a way with words! "Bob leaks Jesus." I may need to "borrow" that one day! And, comparing Gourmet cooking to preparing oneself for God! WOW!! That is powerful. Thank you for all you do.

Jesse said...

Cool stuff among those Decatur Baptists. You've got me thinking about people I've been around who "leak Jesus." That's a great way to think about witness. It's kind of like knowing the Kingdom of God has come near...

Derek Maul said...

Thanks, Pat... Jesse. Always something cool going on with Jesus!