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Making Christ Known in Northern Virginia

A Note From One of Our Pastor (January 2016)

A Higher Calling

In all of Paul’s letters to the various churches where he ministered, he begins by saying “I always thank God for you in my prayers”. That’s the way I feel about my ministry as administrative pastor at Shepherd Gate. When I began this ministry 5 years ago, in September 2010, believe me, I had plenty of apprehension about whether I could make the transition from a very sophisticated and best- practices corporation to a “small company” (that is what a church is, from a business perspective). Well, God had a training ground already planned for me. I just needed to walk it out, one day, one week at a time. Honestly, I can’t say it was easy for me – that I wasn’t frustrated at times by lack of resources or other irritations. Why does God allow these irritations, apparent road blocks and frustrations into our lives? Maybe, just maybe, it’s to grow us into the kind of followers He desires. I’ve often considered the question: Do we grow the most spiritually through the easy times or the difficult times of life? As hard as it is to hear this, I think we grow the most through the challenging times, IF we are listening to God and willing to learn from Him as we move through these times.

Reflecting back over my 5 years on staff, I now realize that the work I have been given at SG is undoubtedly the most important work I’ve ever been associated with, including my professional careers in government and private sector. Can SG compete with the pay scales and exciting travel experiences I had in the electric utility industry? Not in any way. So why would I call it the most important work of my life ventures?

In his book, Purpose Driven Church, Pastor Rick Warren says that “people want to be committed to something that gives significance to their lives. They respond to responsibilities that give life meaning…” Over the 5 years that I have been on staff, God has taught me that serving my local church is a GREAT work in the Kingdom of God. For those 20 SG members who have completed the Discipleship Training Class during 2015, they realize what a great work they are involved in – doing their part to build the Kingdom of God through service to their local church and, by extension, its overseas ministries. It is an exciting work. It’s an important work. It is a work that, if viewed correctly, will add significance to your life on a scale not matched by any job or career.

So, as you consider your commitment to SG during 2016, in terms of how you support the church through your time, your talents and your financial tithe, remember all that God has provided you and respond thankfully. It’s a real pleasure to serve alongside so many of you. “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day (of my staff ministry at SG) until now”. (Php 1:4)

Tom Nusbaum