Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Goodbye, With Tears!

"And much weeping came from all, and falling on the neck of Paul, they were kissing him" (Acts 20:37, author's own translation).
Such was the response of the Ephesian elders to the Apostle Paul as the moment of goodbye finally came. Extreme affection, extreme emotion, even as they all went about doing God's will with joy. Saying goodbye for the sake of the kingdom is often hard!

'Why these tears, Grace Fellowship Church?' That was the question Pastor Paul Martin asked this past Sunday as he sent away 30 beloved members of his church family. Paul had mentored Pastor Julian Freeman for 11+ years. When they began Julian was a high school kid, and now he is a mature pastor who I'd love to have ministering to my family. The other 29 people included Julian's wife and three kids, and 15 other members of Grace Fellowship Church, with their kids. They were being sent away, hived off actually, to plant a daughter church in the East end of Toronto.

Sunday was a day full of joy in God and full of weeping at relational loss. Paul's sermon was a Biblical theology of weeping, tracing 10 Biblical reasons why people appropriately weep. It was excellent, and it can be found here.

Sunday was exciting. My family and I are becoming a part of a kingdom-minded church, a church that cares more about the great commission than personal comfort. My family and I are becoming a part of a healthy church, a church whose leaders we want to follow because they are worthy of following, and a church whose members we are excited to serve and be served by. But my family and I are not becoming a part of a safe church, where we can settle into comfortable ministries for the decades to come. And we love every minute of it. I hope yesterday was not the only tearful goodbye for the sake of the kingdom that we witness at Grace Fellowship Church!

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