Minister's Moment - Pastor John Elmore
Pastor John Elmore, Jr.
As I look back over the last several months at St. Mark, I see plenty of ups and downs, which are rather normal for any church moving through a transition time. I have spent a lot of time praying and looking forward to what lies ahead for St. Mark. I see a lot of opportunities for our church to grow and become the leaders of spiritual renewal in Greenwood. I know you are already asking how we are going to do that. I think first we must look at our priorities and vision for the future. Paul writes in Philippians Chapter 3 that we must be about Christ, first, last, and everything in between, because everything else is just garbage. Just think for a moment how you prayed this Sunday in church when you said the Lord's Prayer. "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done." There is more said in those seventeen words than any of us can truly understand. The reality is that we as Christians should be focusing on Christ in every part of our lives, so that we are literally bringing the Kingdom of God to Greenwood. While we need to work on a clear vision for St. Mark that will come as we get to know Pastor Steve, and he gets to know us, we as individuals can start making sure we are in tune with God and seeking to make Christ first in all our priorities.
The book of Acts and Paul's epistles reveal that Paul lived a life with many challenging circumstances and with difficult decisions to make. He had to choose between things he would do in life and ministry. He clearly made wise choices. He pursued matters that mattered. When options conflicted, he had the ability to choose well. Without a defining, central priority, there can be no way to choose in this complex life. Paul knew that Christ is what gave purpose to his life, and all his priorities grew out of that central focus. Priorities help us say yes and no to things that matter and things that don't matter. Even better yet, having a consuming priority redefines how we say yes and how we live to make that yes a reality. Paul said, "one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me..." Let us press on for Christ together, so that others might see Him and know Him.
How do we choose from the many different possibilities that lie before us? I want you to hear the words of Jeremiah and a few from Peter Drucker, an expert and author on leadership. Read the words from Jeremiah so we can have the proper understanding when we read Mr. Drucker's words.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 "This is what the Lord says: Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord."
Mr. Drucker says, there are many different productive tasks before us each day, but only so much time, so we must choose what is best or most important. We must choose wisely as these choices impact the Kingdom. Drucker provides the following guidelines:
-Pick the future over the past.
-Focus on opportunities rather than problems.
-Choose your own direction over following the crowd.
-Aim high for something that will make a difference, rather than something that is safe and easy.
I know when I look at the history of St. Mark there is a history of choosing well. A little over fifty years ago people stepped out on faith and started St. Mark. Then nine years ago, we stepped out again, and purchased the Rivers Street Campus of St. Mark. Just last year, we moved forward with the help of our South Carolina Methodist Conference, launching The Connection campus of St. Mark. All of those tasks were done with our main focus on Christ, looking at the future opportunities to make a difference, knowing there would be some hard days. Don't allow the ups and downs of these transitions and everyday life get you down. Focus on the main thing - Christ and His Kingdom striving together to make His name known.