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My Challenge to Our Church Staff

One of the concerns I have as a pastor and leader is that conversations can very quickly move toward borderline inappropriate. One minute you’re talking and having fun, and the next thing you know, the conversation turns and it’s no longer edifying to the Lord. It starts as a little off-color joke here or a little off-color comment there, and it can go there very quickly, because if we’re not careful, there’s a tendency for things to move toward the ungodly.

You may assume that a church staff is godly just by way of definition, and that may be true sometimes, but that assumption may also be just that: an assumption. It may not be substantiated by how we live, because we’re only as godly as we are moving ourselves toward Him. Your individual time with the Lord needs to cultivate a heart that’s submitted to God, and that will ultimately be reflected in your professional life.

If you’re on staff at a church, the standard is high. This isn’t a normal job. Godliness has to be part of who you are. In the name of spiritual trust, we need to honor the Lord in what we do and in what we say in same-gender and mixed-gender conversations, in what we talk about behind closed doors and in how we interact behind someone’s back. We need to be mindful of our tongue and not allow ungodliness to come out of our mouths.

My challenge to our church staff is we need to be part of the solution of moving our people toward godliness. We need to be the ones setting the pace in the church, personally reflecting Him, squashing conversations if they’re going sideways and speaking the truth if something isn’t right. It can become too easy to just go about our days and not have those iron-sharpening-iron conversations, but we need to always be mindful of who and what we are reflecting. The time we spend with one another, the conversations in our meetings and all our interactions need to be godly. We need to be champions for holiness, for prayer, for personal devotion with the Lord, for listening to the Holy Spirit stirring in our lives, for living in obedience to His Word.

If there were rumors on the street about our team, I would love for them to be that we handle information well, we treat one another with respect, we have appropriate interactions with the opposite sex and we live in a way that honors Jesus. I would love the reputation of our staff to be that we’re godly.

Launch: The Well Northwest in Sumner, WA

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Shortly after coming to faith in Christ, I realized that growing spiritually was difficult, but growing spiritually while living in a fraternity was nearly impossible. I was in a dark place and far too weak to fight the onslaught of temptations. Knowing this, Brandon Bakke, the prolific three-point shooter from our basketball team, asked me to move in with him and his three roommates, all God-fearing athletes committed to growing in their faith.

What did men of God really look like? I had read about biblical concepts but had never seen them lived out. My roommates, modeling patience and grace, helped me learn to live accountably and showed me what real friendship looked like.

They showed me I could have fun and be sober. They showed me what it meant to spend time with God, how to read my Bible and pray, how to go to church and share my faith, and how to thank God for victory and seek Him with tears when I stumbled.

One day I was reading my Bible in my room. Blown away by what I was reading, I threw open my door and shouted, “This Bible is (expletive) great!” Brandon laughed at my youthful zeal and awkwardly agreed.

His inclusive community helped me grow tremendously. I later went on to do his wedding and became a godfather to his children. And now he will help launch The Well Pacific Northwest this summer.

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Brandon (back row in the Sumner t-shirt) and his wife Sheri (front row: third from the right) are living in Sumner, Washington with their children, Emma (front row: second from the right) and Britton (back row: second from the left). Their first Life Group is pictured here.