Observations From A Sunday When I Was “There” But Not “On”

Yesterday represented the most unusual of opportunities for me at Good Shepherd.

I was there but I was not on.  Meaning: another member of our team handled the preaching load (more on that below).

So here are some not-necessarily-connected reflections from a Sunday in which my primary responsibilities were to shake hands and be friendly:

  • Few things make me more grateful than to see one of my colleagues from the Good Shepherd staff deliver a message with no notes, using the ME-WE-GOD-YOU-WE format that leads to a single, memorable point.  That’s exactly what Chris Thayer did yesterday, starting out with both a child-centric demonstration AND Dodge Viper nostalgia and leading us on a journey that landed at the point:  Your hope is not in your reflection.  It’s in your assignment.
  • For the fourth year in a row, we ONLY had the 10 and 11:30 services on the last Sunday of the year.  Although we tried to communicate that schedule adjustment as well as possible, we still had a surprising number of people show up for 8:30.  We may reconsider this “last Sunday of the year” schedule next year.
  • It was a blast to speak a bit of Spanish during the Welcome.  Our Latino community worshipped on the main Moss Road campus and heard a translated version of the sermon via headphones (like the UN!).  That was our format from 2004 – 2012, when we began our Latino Worship Service in the Corner Campus.
  • Speaking of our Latino presence, the morning’s most glorious moment came when we sang “How Great Is Our God” in Spanish — “Que Grande Es Dios.”
  • Speaking of singing, I was actually able to do so yesterday.  On most Sundays, I clap but don’t sing because I need to save my voice for three morning sermons and a nighttime LifeGroup.  No such worries yesterday.  As good as our music is to listen to, it’s better to sing with.
  • NOT preaching today makes me all the more eager to launch into Beyond next Sunday with a message called “Beyond Me.”
  • Most rewarding moment:  after the 11:30 service, I spoke with a friend from another ministry in Charlotte who happened to worship at Good Shepherd on his day off.  He said, “I thought it might be [racially] diverse, but I wasn’t at all prepared for just how diverse it is.”  As I’ve said before, our racial and ethnic diversity isn’t a cause; it’s a result — a result of lifting the name of Jesus as high as possible.