On The Job Training
In my last post, I talked about the changing of seasons… Sometimes change brings us to new places and creates new perspectives; however, sometimes those changes are far more than just new scenery. New seasons can include significant shifts in roles and responsibilities, and can demand that we call on past experiences to tackle new challenges.
I have often noted that God never wastes an experience, a memory, or a hurt, but truly works all things together for good. For the past five years, God’s assignment for our family included my call to serve as an Associate Pastor leading education and outreach ministries at Longview Heights Baptist Church. Now, as I transition from that Associate role back to Senior Pastor, I have taken time over the past couple of weeks to pause and reflect on lessons that I learned at LHBC…specifically, the lessons I have gleaned from my Pastor, Dr. Wayne Marshall.
For these past five years, I’ve had a front row seat in a classroom of ministry and mentoring. Bro. Wayne and I have been prayer partners, confidants, and co-laborers…more than this, we are friends. I am so thankful for Wayne Marshall and feel compelled to share a few of the lessons I’ve learned from him. Over the next several days, my posts will deal with these lessons.
First, a little background information is in order. By his own admission (and by observing his life), he is far more plodder than visionary; more pastor than preacher; far more shepherd than CEO… and through that unique blend of personality, conviction, and gifting, Wayne Marshall has led the church to make a deep impact in North Mississippi and around the world!
In this day and age, visionary leadership is lauded and it’s almost unthinkable that a pastor would not focus on and emphasize a daring and courageous vision… Yet, Wayne Marshall has taught a different construct and its not that he didn’t have direction. He simply took a different approach.
Eugene Peterson talks about a “long obedience in the same direction” and to me, Wayne Marshall epitomized this approach! By definition, plodding is to proceed in a tediously slow manner or to work with constant and monotonous perseverance. If Webster had illustrated words with images, we would find Wayne Marshall’s picture next to that word!
He said that when he came to Longview Heights, he committed himself to a dependence on prayer and a love for the people. He determined to get up early, work hard, pray hard, study hard, visit people, love people, lead people, live a holy life, and walk with Jesus.
Here is a unique perspective on vision… HE DECIDED TO GET UP THE NEXT DAY AND DO THE SAME THING! And twenty-two years later the church has grown ten-fold and church over 25 church plants have emerged.
Wayne Marshall taught me a great deal about working hard…and working hard at the right things! He deliberately emphasized prayer and missions, and prayer & missions have marked his ministry. The results speak for themselves. Thousands of lives changed, over 100 men and women are serving in vocation ministry out of the ministry of LHBC, and nations around the world have been impacted from 4501 Goodman Road.
This approach is not just based on will power or human ability. It is far more than a “roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done-with-grit-sweat-and-determination” idea. Plodding is a biblical approach!
God values faithfulness! The commendation of the believer at the end of our days is “Well done, GOOD and FAITHFUL servant!”. (emphasis mine)
Being faithful, persistent, and consistent over a long period of time pays significant dividends (whether investing money or investing in people.)
Thank you, Bro. Wayne for your example of faithfulness!
Matthew 25:23 - "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
Christ-follower, husband, dad, friend & the Senior Pastor of Hardy Street Baptist Church.