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.