This past weekend, Carol and I attended the annual Pastor’s & Wives Retreat of the Pacific Northwest District of the Evangelical Free Church, held at the Sun River Resort in Oregon. Beautiful location. Relaxing schedule. Catching up with friends and fellow workers.
The highlight of the weekend for us was hearing from Pastor Kent Hughes. I served with Kent at College Church in Wheaton from 1986-89. He is now retired and living in Spokane, WA. Though I only spent three years on staff with Kent, I still consider him one of my mentors. He demonstrated what it meant to be a hard-working pastor. Through his sermons and commentaries, he showed me how to prepare and deliver a message that balances explanation and application. He and his wife, Barbara, exhibited and loving marriage and a healthy family.
The first day of the conference, Kent shared his perspective on success in ministry, which he wrote about in Liberating ministry from the success syndrome. Far too often, pastors measure success by the “Big 5”–Baptisms, Bucks, Buildings, and if you are really successful, Books & Broadcasts. None of those, however, are biblical. Instead, God’s measure of success includes faithfulness, loving God with all your heart, prayer, serving, and a good attitude. Having struggled recently with trying to measure my own success, it was a reminder I needed to hear.
The second day of the conference, Kent spoke from 2 Corinthians. Speaking from 3:4-6 and 12:1-10, Kent explained that God’s plan has always been to demonstrate his power through our weakness. His final message was taken from Jeremiah 29:10-11. He explained that whatever we go through–good, bad, positive, negative, painful, joyful–are all part of God’s good plans for our lives.
As always, Kent was challenging and encouraging. He ministered to us from his knowledge and experience. He was used by God to meet us at our point of need. Thanks, Kent.