Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I just passed another milestone in my life. On July 31, I celebrated my 30th anniversary of ordination. After serving for a little over two years at Calvary Chapel of Claremont, the pastor at that time (Marco Alvarez) ordained me as one of his two assisting pastors, and in Feb of 1980, I was brought on paid staff, serving full time until I left in July of '81 to plant this church. I remember distinctly how exciting it was for me to actually drive to the church office on my first day as a full time staff member. That week I put in 70 hours, and was so blessed to just be there in the office, helping the church and assisting the new pastor who had taken over when Marco moved on.
One thing that I have learned in the years I have served the Lord is that God is the God of new things. I have learned not to settle for the "same old same old" that can pass for life (and even ministry) but to remember that the Lord is infinitely creative, and that the Lord wants us to remain flexible and open to whatever He might want to do. This is much of my philosophy of ministry, trying to remain in a place that God can move and do whatever new thing He might lead us to do.
I ended my time with the 1835's, and frankly miss spending time with them, even if it was only in the capacity of teaching the group. Marie and I see such potential and such need for such a group, and would have enjoyed being able to be there weekly, but to be honest I think they need much more than we can give them (socially, ministry) so I am hoping that the group will continue meeting and growing under Mike Callahan. Mike has a burden for the group (he is 24) and his wife Sarah is a real jewel, so I think that the group will not only be taught, but will also be given opportunity to go outside of the four walls of the church and do something for the Lord in the community, perhaps even world wide. I am hoping that many will go with Marie and me to Israel, and pray that they will do whatever is necessary to go! We shall see, as many have taken registration forms and many have shown an interest. It is one of those things that budgeting (bad word for many) is much worth the effort!
On another note, I am taking two weeks off (kind of) and will not be in the pulpit from the 9th to the 16th. Next Sunday morning we have Dr. Hindson, an expert in the Last Days and a very good teacher. The church will definitely be blessed by this man as he brings a study for us. On the following Wednesday David Trujillo will be with us, sharing from the word and filling us in on an outreach that he is putting together for Los Angeles at the Nokia. David has got a good ministry going in a very tough place, as he is ministering in South Los Angeles. The Lord is moving through him, and I think he will bring a powerful message for our church.
Finally, I have felt led to have open invitations once again, and on Wednesday night and Sunday morning (third service) we saw quite a number of people respond to the invitation. It just is a very spiritually exciting and blessed thing to see so many come to faith in Jesus, and I pray that God will continue moving, bringing many to faith in Jesus. Sometimes we may mistakenly think that we can bring people to crusades for them to get saved, when in reality they can bring their friends to church services and they can be saved there. Crusades and outreaches are not the only place people get saved at! It might interest you to know (by actual statistical research) that as high as 90% of those who come forward at a crusade or an outreach are re-dedications, and not first time professions of faith. They come forward because they want to make a public decision, or they have not been walking solidly, or for various other reasons. We get excited to see them do so, but when you consider the incredible amount of money that is put in to such events (sometimes 100's of thousands of dollars) we need to evaluate if that is the best way to spend the Lord's money. While I am not opposed to getting the name of Jesus out, still I am more of the opinion that evangelism is the work of the church, and we are all being equipped to "do the work of an evangelist". We may not be gifted evangelists, but we certainly have received the Spirit to "be witnesses" as well as to give a witness. This is one reason why I have returned to giving invitations in church services, as people should be given an opportunity to get right with God, even if it is a simple as a re-dedication. I pray the Lord continues moving in all ministries taking His name out to the world, but I especially pray that the church remain evangelistic.
Finally, I was interviewed recently for a magazine called Outreach, and will be one of the featured pastors in an upcoming edition. Our church also was listed in a book published by Church Growth Today, and we have a chapter in the book that speaks of what the Lord has done in our church. When you consider that there are over 500,000 churches in the US, it is amazing to see what God has done in our midst, and I stand in awe and eternal thankfulness for what He is doing, and for those whom He has graciously introduced me to, who attend our fellowship and who serve so faithfully in our midst. Again, 28 years and still counting! In spite of all His blessings here on earth, I still cannot help but say Even so, Come quickly Lord Jesus!


Alicia said...

Pastor David,
Enjoy your time off! I pray that you get the rest that you need and enjoy the time with your family! I am so happy that your are doing altar call, I don't usually go to 11:30 service and so I didn't realize you did not always do it. As a believer, it is always a huge emotional blessing when I see people go forth to receive the Lord!
I agree with your opinion about Evangelism and that we are all equipped to spread the Word of God throughout our world near and far.
I have seen many friends here at CCCV who were once terrified to open up about the Lord, grow tremendously and are able to share with strangers and family alike!
Oh, if we would all only say, "Lord when I open my mouth, will you fill it with Your Words!"

Debbie said...

Pastor Dave,

I have attending this wonderful church now for almost 17 years and yet have never actually met or spoken to you..I have been involved (in very small ways) with the various different ministries there over the years, and in a few of the women's bible study groups as well. I cannot begin to express my gratitude at being able to sit under your teaching all these years. I have been blessed beyond anything I could ever describe. My youngest son, James Class is the high school pastor at Maranatha Chapel in San Diego. He is going to be doing the teaching in the main sanctuary this coming Wed. night. The influence you had on him as a young man growing up played a huge role in the man he has become. I have been working the last few months on a scripture blog which is really nothing much at all, but has blessed me and given me a burden to serve Him in any way I can. If you would ever have a moment to look it over I would appreciate your opinion on rather or not it is something I should leave on the interent for anyone to see....I have thought it could be a way to bring about blogging women (there seems to be so many of them) to comment back and forth and bring about discussions and growth in Him. I just wanted to say hello and thank you for the many many ways you have ministered to me and to my family over the years.

Debbie Class