A local minister, church planter, and missionary walk into a bar and sit down. This sounds like the start to a bad joke, right? Well, change “walk into a bar” with “chat in a video call” and you would get the truth. Two of my best friends are ordained ministers. One is a church planter in Florida, and the other is a missionary in northern Spain. We generally meet very early to discuss life and ministry, pray for one another, and study the Scriptures. On a weekly basis, I am amazed at the different perspectives we have.

For instance, as your minister I emphasize y’all’s care. I’m continually thinking and planning on how best to reach out, communicate well, and create a God-glorifying environment in which deeper fellowship of our congregation can take place. As the “house” is being cared for, y’all are able to meet and invite neighbors, and coworkers, and friends into our “home.”

On the other hand, my church planting friend is constantly evaluating. Who lives where? Why do they live there? Is God revealing an important need in these facts? Is God stirring within this community? With an even different perspective, my missionary friend boldly bypasses such thoughts. The Gospel must be proclaimed here. God has called us to this place because there is little to no Bible presence here, and they need to hear about Jesus. May God bless the proclamation of the Gospel!

As we meet each week, these different perspectives have revealed weaknesses and strengths in how we live our lives and serve the Lord. Obviously, care of the congregation is vital and important, but that doesn’t mean I can neglect my own personal (and Centennial’s) outreach to our community. Likewise, deep and meaningful relations cannot be neglected by a church planter as he looks at the statistics of a community one more time. Similarly, a missionary does not simply proclaim the Gospel and move on; rather, the hope and desire is for meaningful relationships in Christ to be born. All three perspectives carry certain strengths and weaknesses.

I say all this in hopes that you would self-reflect this week. Where do you fall? These three categories are not exhaustive, but it is a good exercise. Do you desire care of our people above all else? Are you always thinking about who you (and we) are reaching—and not reaching? Or does the simple need to serve and share the Gospel in the name of Jesus define your desires for the church? My hope is for us to see that all of them are important, but it doesn’t change the fact that we emphasize different pieces of this beautiful picture.

How do you fit in at Centennial? Do you have plans for us to reach out to others in our community? Do you have thoughts on who our community is? Or are your thoughts geared towards a deepening sense of community within our congregation—a growing care for our own that will then bleed into the community? Reflect on these things! As God grants us knowledge of ourselves, we can begin to see how He has gifted us for service unto Him moving forward.

It’s like I said before, a local minister, church planter, and missionary walk into a bar and sit down, and this is no joke! It’s real. And my two friends and I are better for it. May God be glorified as we identify our strengths, come together as a church family, and with different gifts and emphases from God bless one another as we seek to bless others in the name of Jesus Christ. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10, emphasis added). God willing, see y’all Sunday! Blessings,