Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Unless the Lord Builds The House

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain... (Psalm 127:1)

"The Preacher's Husband" is psyched... jazzed... stoked... fired up....  I am, in a word (or two) all a-tingle.

Those of you who know me won't be all that surprised. Sometimes it seems I spend most of my life in the the sweet zone. It's not unusual for me to get up in the morning already smiling. Life is good, yes, but life is better still when its fundamental meaning is so clear.

But I digress! The specific reason I'm all a-tingle this week is 100% church related. Yesterday was another huge landmark in our sojourn at First Presbyterian of Brandon, as real-life, dust-raising, debris-producing demolition marked the "can't-turn-back-now" phase of new construction.

As you can see (and thanks to Marianne Evans for the photos), the score at this juncture stands thus: Construction Crew 1 - Campbell Hall - 0. Or, "CC 1-0 CH".

But building can be stressful. Like it or not, believe it is the case or not, intentional or otherwise... the moment a capital campaign of any sort is launched the process becomes a kind of de facto referendum on the senior pastor's ministry. For the pastor's spouse - male or female - standing on the sidelines can be frustrating to the core. Should I actively participate in the debate? Or is the most appropriate response to stand quietly by Rebekah's side, vote by my absolute confidence in the church's vision, and then simply pledge $$$ as generously as possible?

For Rebekah and me, the course of events leading to this moment has been long and costly. The plan may have been developed and presented by the Visioning Team, but every congregational vote along the way felt like a vote of confidence in what is now over 14 years of ministry here in Brandon.

That equals a boatload of pressure on the pastor and a unique opportunity for the pastor's spouse to do whatever it takes to provide the encouragement and support that is not only crucial but possibly the most key element of our calling.

At the root of dealing with such stress must be the following understanding. "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain..." God has given the Presbyterian congregation that meets at Carver Avenue a clear vision of what it means to do ministry here in Brandon. The Visioning Team has been instrumental in terms of interpreting that vision on behalf of the congregation. Rebekah, as the senior pastor, is gifted and equipped as custodian of the vision, its cheerleader, and its chief expositor.

In the world of theater, exposition is defined as the art of helping the crowd understand the characters and the action. In our church, right now, we have both characters and action:
  • The Characters are God and God's people - both those who know they belong to God and are exploring the relationship... and those of God's people outside our doors, the ones who need to hear the Good News (Go, therefore, and make disciples). 
  • The Action is building a center for discipleship and expanding our ministry in terms of equipping the saints. 
All this - dust, rubble, prayer, building, raising money, vision-casting, faithfulness, and being disciples - is serving to move First Presbyterian of Brandon forward in terms of our simple mission: To share the love of God by serving within our church, community and beyond: and to develop and empower passionate followers of Jesus Christ.

Your continued prayers are valued.


  1. Score

    Derek's rhapsodic prose 1
    Boring, been-there-done-that 0

    Thank you.


  2. Thanks charles. Or as the next Generation would say "Sweet "!