Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday in Washington

This Sunday has been one of the best Sundays in quite a while. This morning I had the chance to attend my parents' church, the Downtown Seattle Campus of Mars Hill Church and I was also able to visit Puyallup Foursquare's High School Ministry.

At Mars Hill Pastor Mark was not speaking this weekend so Pastor Tim Gaydos, the campus pastor, gave the message on the fourth chapter of Jonah. He was awesome. From a public speaking standpoint he had a few things to work on as we all do. But what made it powerful was his authenticity. His obvious radical love for Jesus and his passion to reach the city to which he has been sent. His message on Jonah was different from the moralistic/exemplaristic preaching that we see too often with Old Testament stories. He was on point with his context and redemptive historical acumen. At the end he cast vision for his community and called his congregation to live missionally in their community bringing the Gospel of Reconciliation to the lost while serving them lovingly. That is what I love about this church! They are always challenging and never complacent when it comes to their mission and calling as a "city within a city". Another thing that struck me was their worship. In a word it was...different. My parents totally don't get it at all but they love the community and so they stay. But what made the worship unique was the obvious theological bent to all of the songs. Case in point, we went from singing a great rendition of Amazing Grace to a song entitled 'Destruktor' which spoke of the hatred God has for sin and his obligation to punish sinners. I enjoyed the lyrics and what they made me ponder. I might not have worshipped with my lips singing praises as I just couldn't catch their melody but I did worship with my mind as I marveled at the the greater truths of God. I guess as long as God is worshipped any style will do for me!


A few hours later I went down to Puyallup to see my friend Chad Veach lead, coach and preach through an awesome High School service at Puyallup Foursquare. He preached an incredible message on the mission of the church (coincidentally along the same lines as Pastor Tim at Mars Hill). The high school kids were obviously pumped and from what I could see (especially from the student leaders) they understood, accepted and were living out the message. Chad was an awesome leader. He was hard when he needed to be and showed grace when he needed to. His team obviously loved and respected him. The culture of the team was one of unity, community and genuine love for each other and that seeped out into the congregation. There were a few other youth pastors there from Portland, OR shadowing Chad and seeing how the ministry runs. I just came to visit a friend but I got a lot more than I had planned. We three youth pastors were greeted warmly and we learned an incredible amount in a short time. I pray that my leadership and ministry would mirror some of the great qualities that make Chad and Puyallup Foursquare High School Ministry fruitful and successful at making Jesus famous.