Someone once said that, “leaders are learners.” I wholeheartedly concur with this axiom. As I reflect on the past ten years of leading the Mobberly family, I can’t help but see the growth in my own life and family – much of which is from the influence of Mobberly itself. I am moved to immense gratitude for the patience with which my wife, my boys and my church have lovingly covered my mistakes while courageously living out our mission as “people leading people into a life-changing, ever-growing relationship with Jesus Christ.”
I am thankful that God is not finished with me or with Mobberly (Philippians 1:6), and I am aware that God is using me and Mobberly to accomplish His work (Ephesians 2:10). I’d like to summarize the top ten truths I’ve learned from my ten years at Mobberly:
1) Prayer is the secret to smooth transitions. From pastoral leadership to physical locations, Mobberly exudes a spirit of willingness to change as the Holy Spirit leads. This rare flexibility within a church can only be true because of the hours of fervent and faithful prayers. The prayer warriors of Mobberly continue to undergird every day and decision we face.
2) Take the gospel seriously, not ourselves. The life-changing message of Jesus and His mission is not worth jeopardizing just because our egos are frail. I’ve made plenty of bloopers worth laughing at. While the East Texas community values authenticity and not perfection, such blunders, when recognized and not covered up in pretense, actually become a platform for genuinely sharing Christ in a personal way.
3) Uphold God’s Word as the standard for all decisions, actions and relationships. Biblical truth is not only needed in today’s turbulent times, the proclamation of it is rare. I wouldn’t be here today if Mobberly didn’t love God’s Word. But what I’ve seen God accomplish within me and within Mobberly is an unbending dedication to learning and living out God’s Word.
4) There’s nothing quite like the heart of a volunteer. Whatever the task, wherever the need – the visible and not-so-visible leaders of Mobberly are true servants. Serve is more than a component of our strategy; it’s the outflow of everything we are experiencing and learning. The spirit of volunteerism permeates the DNA of this church body and it’s changing the world!
5) Leveraging your influence is a matter of stewardship. Jesus declared: “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). Every member matters. Just as in a family where every person carries weight, the Mobberly membership continues to excel in giving God our very best. Our time on this earth is a matter of stewardship. We must live every day like Christ is coming back today.
6) Programs are good, but people matter most. Baptists as a whole are seen as people who don’t handle change well, especially when it comes to traditions or long-standing programs. A unique jewel in the crown of Mobberly, however, continues to reflect the passion of our Lord, Himself. Programs are key as the vehicle for carrying out the mission, but just like the numerous cars I’ve had in my life, the love for a vehicle doesn’t exceed the love for the people inside.
7) The greatest investment is always for those who are not here yet. It may sound crude, but the mantra to “put your money where your mouth is” simply describes a person, or a church, who has an integrity of mission. Many churches say they want to reach the lost, but when faced with giving or going in order to do so, their actions don’t match their words. Every year, the incredible investment that is seen in money given through the budget, world missions and capital campaigns reflects a faith-family who understands that the greatest investment made is for those who are not here yet.
8) God intends His church to be inter-generational. Just as heaven has people from every tribe and tongue, the church is a blended family too. While Mobberly increases its reflection of our own diverse East Texas community, one area of diversity often unmentioned is age demographics. When a Mobberly family of five generations links are-in-arm praising God, that’s a church where every person matters. Methods and music continue to change, but the church that worships inter-generationally is the church that reflects a true family of God.
9) Unity is not automatic. Only God can create unity through diversity. He continues to do that at Mobberly. Every worship service or campus that is added comes with its challenges, but the people of God at Mobberly are people who know the power of unity and the necessity of it. With every change or challenge, Satan is ready to disrupt, distract or destroy, but the Mobberly family ensures continued unity by praying for it and guarding it, because unity is not automatic.
10) Never stop growing. I’ve got a long way to go, but at least I’m growing in the right direction (ok, maybe not vertically, but you know what I mean). My favorite phrase of our mission statement has always been “ever-growing.” For 8 decades, Mobberly has continued to grow. The velocity of that growth may be slight or spiked at various points in time, but it continues to grow. Most importantly, that growth comes through conversion growth. When a church is dedicated to reaching the lost more than satisfying the saints, it will continue to grow. Mobberly typifies what every Christian needs to understand – the only lid for growth is me. God didn’t bring me this far so I can sit back or coast. God is growing me and His Kingdom through the family of God at Mobberly. We’re not the builders but we are the workers!
When I think about the next 10 years or the next 10 minutes, I’m convinced that God can do more in one day than an entire church can do in a decade. I sure am looking forward to that!