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Category Archives: Ministry

Faithfulness

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is credited with founding the modern nursing profession. Late in life, she was asked about her life’s secret. “Well, I can only give one explanation. That is, I have kept nothing back from God.” Florence never claimed to be highly gifted. She once said, “If I could give you information of my life, it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths … God has done all, and I nothing.” The key to her success was not her ability but rather her availability to God. At the age of thirty, she wrote in her diary, “I am thirty years of age, the age at which Christ began His mission. Now no more childish things, no more vain things. Now, Lord, let me think only of Thy will.”

Cited in Deuteronomy: Loving Obedience to a Loving God (Preaching the Word Commentary Series), by Ajith Fernando

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2017 in Ministry, Quotes

 

FCBC Building Renovation Proposal

First Central Bible Church is considering how to upgrade our facility for ministry in the 21st Century. Below is a letter mailed out to the congregation explaining the proposed process and when they can learn more about the details. Click on the letter to download a copy of the pdf file.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2017 in First Central Bible Church, Ministry

 

Why am I not surprised?

One week ago, I met with our church leaders to talk about vision and direction. I shared my perception that we were a busy church, but not necessarily effective or fruitful. I spoke of my concern that we were too inwardly focused and overemphasized fellowship. I believe we need to be more purposeful and intentional in making disciples and reaching the lost.

On Sunday, I preached on Exodus 19 and how to prepare to meet with God. (It’s part of a series on the life of Moses.) I emphasized that before entering God’s presence, we should ask ourselves four questions—Am I willing to obey? Am I ready to listen? Have I prepared my heart? and, Do I respect God’s presence? Several mentioned how much the message challenged them. One said it was the best message they heard me preach in the five years I’ve been at the church. Several gave me hugs. One said as long as I keep preaching like that, I was their pastor. I continued to hear affirming comments a few days later.

On Monday evening, I began a new class, the Character & Habits of a Leader, part of a strategy for church-based leadership development. 17 people were present for the first session with two more who will join us for the second lesson.

On Wednesday evening, we launched our fall ministries with Awana, youth group, adult Bible studies, and a prayer group. We had 90 children in Awana with 30 in the youth group. A significant number came from the surrounding neighborhood. The building was hopping!

In addition, we also started two new adult Sunday School classes with a third one coming next month, as well as our women’s Bible studies starting again for the fall.

God is on the move at First Central Bible Church. So much good ministry is taking place.

So, why was I surprised when an individual wanted to meet with me to share what they perceived were my weaknesses as a pastor? Namely, that I was a “good to great teacher, but don’t exhort,” and that I was not outgoing enough and don’t work the room to greet every person (not their exact words but my takeaway.) I responded in two ways. First, I thanked them for what they shared and said I would have to think and pray about what they said. Second, I said that I have been told all my life that I don’t have what it takes to be a pastor and I am tired of hearing it because it is wrong. (For more on that topic, read my blog post on October 26, 2012, “Learning it’s ok to be me.”)

Why am I not surprised … whenever we take a step of faith … whenever we share the gospel … whenever we begin to be successful … whenever we challenge people to serve or share their faith … whenever we begin to make progress and move forward … the enemy seeks to discourage, distract, and sideline us.

On the one hand, I know that criticism comes with the territory. In the words of Rachel Dawes to Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, “You’re Gotham’s D.A. If you’re not getting shot at, you’re not doing your job.” On a more spiritual side, the apostle Paul said that we have “conflicts without; fears within” (2 Corinthians 7:5). Criticism is one of the occupational hazards of ministry, even more so in today’s culture.

On the other hand, I am human and freely admit that criticism stings, especially from those within the body who really don’t know me. To be honest, I briefly contemplated walking away into the sunset. Rather than quitting, however, I simply decided to take the day to work at home.

I am reminded once again that this is a spiritual battle. I know that I need to stand firm and resist the temptation to feel sorry for myself and/or flee the battlefield (James 4:7). Like King David, I need to find my strength in God (1 Samuel 23:16). As a steward of God’s ministry, I need to stay faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). If I want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant,” then I need to be faithful to serve God with whatever he has entrusted to me (Matthew 25:14-30). As my mentor Kent Hughes used to say, “I need to believe what I believe.”

Time to put my soap box away, armor up, and get back to work.

 

Russia 2018 ministry trip

I will be returning to Russia in April 2018 to continue training young pastors and emerging leaders. On this trip, I will be teaching the book of Revelation. Click on the newsletter below to download a pdf copy and learn more about the trip.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2017 in Ministry, Missions, Photos, Russia

 

Of Ministry & Milestones

September is an anniversary month for me. It’s a time when I look back and celebrate the grace of God in my life. It’s a time when I look forward and recommit myself to following God. It’s a time when I once again declare how much I need his grace and strength in my life.

September is a milestone month for me because it is when I began my first full-time, paid position in ministry. I’ve been doing ministry for almost 45 years. But I started getting paid for it in September 1986, 31 years ago.

I began serving in ministry during my freshman year in college in 1973. From 1973-86, I taught Sunday School for kids, served as a youth sponsor, discipled high school students, led ministry trips, sang in choirs, coached sports teams, chaired committees, did a summer internship, participated in evangelism outreaches, and other ministries I have long since forgotten.

I taught one class in each of two semesters in Dallas Theological Seminary’s Lay Institute from 1983-84, and even got paid for the privilege. I also served one year as a part-time intern at Nutwood St. Baptist Church in Garden Grove, CA, in the mid-80’s.

In September 1986, I was called as the Pastor of Christian Education at College Church in Wheaton, IL, and began my full-time career in ministry. I served the first 18 years as an Associate Pastor. I served three years at College Church, Wheaton, IL – Pastor of Christian Education (9/86-7/89), and over 14 years at Crossroads Bible Church, Bellevue, WA – Associate Pastor—Singles, Adults, Missions, Senior Associate (2/90-6/04).

In September 2004, I was called as a Senior Pastor and have now served 13 years in that role. I served almost 8 years at United Evangelical Free Church, Seattle, WA (9/04-3/12), and the past five years at First Central Bible Church, Chicopee, MA (9/12-Present). If God should tarry, I would like to keep going and reach the goal of serving as many years as a senior pastor as I did as an associate pastor.

In addition, I have served as an instructor for Walk Thru the Bible Ministries for 30 years (1987-Present). I also led or participated in 18 ministry trips (13 to Russia, 2 to Ukraine, 2 to Spain, and 1 to Nigeria). I also have the privilege of mentoring students as an adjunct professor at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA.

Somewhere along the line, I developed the following purpose statement for my life.

My Mission is to serve the purpose of God in my generation, thus bringing glory to his name. My Life Vision to train and equip others through preaching, teaching, writing, and leadership development. I want to bring all to maturity and many into leadership.

To be starting my 32nd year in ministry says more about God’s grace than my ability. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed nor the smartest person in the room. I am a plodder who strives to run the race God called me to run (Hebrews 12:1-4). I want to serve God faithfully and use all of my gifts for his glory (Matthew 25:14-30).

As I reflect on another ministry milestone, I thank God that he called me to be one of his children. I thank God that he called me into his service. I thank him for the privilege of serving him at First Central. I thank God for grace.

May God grant me the grace and strength to continue serving him for many more years to come.

 

 

Worshipping at the Downtown GetDown

This morning, the “Dave Krok Experience”–Dave, Jack, Ron, Jessica, Stephanie, Keli, and Lauren–one of First Central Bible Church‘s worship team played on the stage at the Chicopee Downtown GetDown. From 11:00AM – 12 Noon, they were the featured band on the stage in front of the old library. A number of FCBC folks were present to encourage and worship along with the team. Our presence led to a number of conversations during the concert and afterwards.

 

It’s not you, Pastor

It’s not you, Pastor, but … I need a change … I don’t feel connected … I’m not inspired … the Holy Spirit is leading me … I have different convictions about leadership … I don’t fit … I don’t agree with the vision … I don’t want to be tied to one church … the church doesn’t need me … but it’s not personal.

Why is it that when I hear someone is leaving the church and their reasons start with, “It’s not you, it’s me …” I immediately feel like it’s my fault. I feel like I just received the ecclesiastical “Dear John …” letter. “I think we should see other churches. Let’s just be friends.”

I guess my feelings fit in with Jim Collins “the window and the mirror” concept in his book, Good to Great. During times of prosperity and success, the leader looks out the window and praises the efforts of the people. During times of difficulty and challenge, the leader looks in the mirror and wonders what he could do better.

How can I lead more effectively? How can I inspire, encourage, and challenge people to grow? How can I keep the flock from scattering?

While I know my task is to focus on pleasing God rather than people, it still feels very personal when someone says, “It’s not you, Pastor, but …”

Ah, the challenges of leading a church. SIGH!

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Church, Ministry, Passion, Personal growth