It’s true, I have serious doubts about my skills as a motivator, manager, ideater and community organizer.
But through the trials of the past three years, I have become a deep believer in the Gospel and have enormous confidence in its abilities. And the reason I have such confidence in the Gospel is I’ve seen what it can do.
The Gospel gave me hope, perspective and strength during hellishly dark days. I’ve seen it even at our small, struggling church—people coming to faith for the first time, or after years of turning away from God; other people being encouraged and challenged, leaving behind a life of nominal Christianity and taking up the cross instead.
And I believe these fruits came to be not through my skills as a pastor but through the Gospel, that message God loves us and has made a way for us. If my God-given skills and abilities had anything to do with it, it was only because they were tethered to that Story and channeled through its power, and nothing more.
And so if you give me a chance to explain the Gospel to people, I will do so clearly and passionately, using every ounce of intellect and conviction and anointing I have.
And I will do it again and again, week after week, from the pulpit, through email or at a coffee table.
I don’t care if I have to do it in front of a few or many, to the young or the old, to a person of any race. And I don’t need mojo to pull these things off, because I have the Gospel—the Gospel has become my swagger.
Whatever confidence I have lost in myself and my abilities, I seem to have gained in the Gospel and its abilities instead.
Now this might seem like a silver lining of sorts, a type of “Oh, at least he is gleaning something positive out of all of this!” And because of this, now I (and you) can feel somewhat better about my terrible situation.
But frankly, I don’t see it that way.
This is all positive and exactly the process through which all ministers are supposed to travel. This is what Paul teaches us in the book of Philippians:
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.