Impact Church

Passionately serving God and His people

Tag: pastor appreciation

A Special Bond

Phil 2:20  For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. V21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. V22 But you know the proof of him, that, as son with the father, he has served with me in the gospel.

The psychology of post-Christian cultures notoriously minimizes character and virtue. Employing inside politics, whitewashed platitudes, inflated bios, participation trophies, and everybody’s-a-winner celebrations, the intent is to equalize the rewards of human effort. Societies may blend or share the rewards of the well-deserved with the indolently undeserved, but Scripture reveals a distinct line between heart-driven service and efforts framed for image.

That flaccid and contemptible label, “politically correct”, is never attached to Paul, the New Testament’s most prolific writer. His ministry style is too demanding and rare, his candid writing too precise and real, his evaluation of ministers too rugged and raw to be ambivalent.

As Paul meticulously unravels essential church doctrine, so he evaluates those given to ministry and service. Intrepid and forthright, those traveling and supporting the Apostle’s work could receive pleasing endearments or fatherly reproofs.

To walk and work alongside this foundational Apostle, was to have the luxury of relating to a man of unworldly character – one able to discern integrity and able also to publicly exalt or censure it.

His observations of protégés and fellow ministers reflect unwavering absolutes, his conclusions and judgments undeniable and undebatable. There’s no wiggle room in his vocabulary, no possibility for misunderstanding or missing the point in his assessments. Clear, unmistakable and unadorned with fluff, Paul communicated truth and intent masterfully and faithfully.

The above scripture text is case in point…

How boldly then does Paul call out those who stand only in spaces of comfort and convenience!

How sharply does he expose those who become loveless and careless with the Bride of Christ!

How fearlessly does he contrast selfless, sacrificing ministers and the self-centered!

But then there’s also Timothy, a young man faithfully committed to Paul and the Gospel. A fellow minister of whom Paul was not ashamed; a needed companion, a trusted comrade, a willing servant.

Paul’s effusive record of Timothy’s part in advancing his apostolic assignment is both epic and heartwarming. It is incontrovertible that pieces of the early church design came through the father/son relationship of Paul and Timothy.

And it is also certain that relationships of such did not cease, nor did they become unnecessary, at the passing of the early church fathers.

I am both witness and participant of such a relationship…

To God, I’m grateful.

To you son, Pastor Jason, I’m honored.

Happy Pastor Appreciation, Pastor Jason!

Impact Church salutes you gladly today, and honors your obedience to the gifts and divine call of sharing the greatest love story ever told!

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Unknown, Yet Well-Known

Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. Philippians 2:25

Honor adorns ministries where virtue and faithfulness are rooted. Yet, ministries outside the limelight of platform, prestige or title are easily overlooked. Inconspicuous and undervalued, these “behind the scenes” supporting gifts are indispensable and utterly praiseworthy. Their labors may flourish without the camera’s flash, and their fruit may be credited to names more prominent; but those who know, know it is of this sort that grace ministries are advanced.

Of all the names aligned with the ministry of Paul, Epaphroditus holds an especial fondness. And though mentioned only twice in scripture, his dedication to Apostle Paul drew the highest of praise and commendation.

Coming to Paul as a two way emissary from the Philippian church, Epaphroditus was sent to provide support and strength to the Apostle while imprisoned in Rome. Mind you, this is not a Titus or Timothy or Silas. Not a renowned evangelist or revered teacher.

Merely Epaphroditus. And defined as, “dedicated to love and beauty”.

A servant. A helper. A lifter. A brother, a minister, a soldier.

Not a competitor or a burden, not a critic or corrector of the called.

Simply a selfless supporter of God’s most prolific preacher.

Forget the greater than two months and eight hundred plus miles of archaic travel to reach Rome, and the dangers inherent as a Christian in hostile lands. And don’t make it a big deal that his age was likely advanced and quid pro quo compensation never crossed his mind.

Simply remember that he was a servant, a man committed to the propagation of the Gospel by enhancing another man’s gift.

And remember that his service to Paul was not without a heavy toll. For his loyal efforts to further the Apostle’s ministry nearly cost him his life. But we must also remember abundant grace; as God was merciful, Epaphroditus was stronger, and Paul was wiser.

So it is of such service gifts that Paul’s ministry is heavily emblazoned on the pages of sacred script, and deeply etched in the hearts of those reading them.

This week, Impact Church, using Epaphroditus as a model for unsung ministry, honors the unseen, yet immeasurable support of those that hold the hands of those with more visible platforms. Your heart is perfect, your motives are pure, your energies are provocative, your life testifies of a divine grace.

And you are valued. Your selflessness is noticed; priceless and precious. Your work is indispensable and incalculable.

Grateful above all. Appreciated. Honored. Loved.

How can we even begin, the work too varied, the fields too spacious:

  • To teachers instructing the young, educating them year after year of the love and faithfulness of God…
  • To hospitality teams and kitchen workers preparing and ministering food consistently to countless faces, young and old alike…
  • To faceless sound technicians, microphone experts, amplifier repairers, speaker adjusters, and wiring experts…
  • To transportation ministers, starting vans on cold mornings and sweltering afternoons, so whosoever will can hear this incredible message of Jesus…
  • To worship teams prevailing in practice and prayer, so the music and lyrics of His Majesty and boundless love may penetrate obstinate hearts or confirm a weary one…
  • To greeters and door keepers, opening doors, parking cars and holding umbrellas, just to be sure they’re warm, safe and welcomed…
  • To web designers, newsletter preparers, social media providers, and communication professionals perfecting their craft so the message is easily comprehended and gracefully disseminated…
  • To pastoral assistants, armor bearers, drivers and schedule makers…
  • To faithful, deeply committed financial givers opening their wallets because they’re openly sensitive to God’s heart…
  • To budget and financial caretakers of the resources richly given, attending to both present conditions and forward initiatives…
  • To house cleaners, yard caretakers, facility maintainers, playground protectors, electricians, painters and builders…
  • To prayer warriors, missionaries near and far, hospital evangelists, school minded ministers, and homeless shelter providers…

And to every encourager, intercessor, need supplier, smile giver and hug provider – and in innumerable other ways ministry is produced from those who love God and His people – here’s a simple thank you for your Epaphroditus heart.

God sees you and His records are detailed and impeccable.

We see you. We applaud you. We thank God for you. Of your type will heaven be glad …and filled.

May grace be multiplied, your blessings increased, and your peace as flowing, tranquil and refreshing as a mountain stream.

Acknowledging today beyond the power of our words, those who live fully committed to the service and exaltation of our glorious King! THANK YOU!

Pastor Appreciation

Everyone was created to honor and everyone does so naturally. It is an involuntary response to impression and admiration. We subconsciously evaluate everything and simultaneously bestow a measure of worth or merit to that object. This occurs innately based upon a deeply embedded value system. In others words, an individual will inherently give honor to that which they value.

However a problem occurs when the measure of evaluation is skewed because of a flawed or erroneous value system. We begin to honor things that have little value and place little honor on that which has great value. Welcome to 2017, where the tawdry is considered worthy of honor and the nonpareil is neglected. Therefore, to give honor accurately requires a just and true value system.

Those who followed Jesus began to argue on several occasions about which one of them deserved the most honor. “Who is the greatest,” they asked. Is it Peter, or John, or possibly James? They insisted that Christ answer them and validate their desire to know. Instead of answering their questions outright, Jesus used this divine moment as an opportunity to unveil His otherworldly value and priority system.

The world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige, and position. In our status-driven culture, we determine a person’s greatness by their ability to demand service from others. Thousands of books have been written about leadership and influence. Everyone wants to lead, be prominent, and have authority. Honor given to these inferior aspects of life unveils our sin-skewed values.

Jesus responded to His disciples with this ethereal reply, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:43) Greatness, therefore, is not influence, wealth or ascendancy. Greatness is service! With this new paradigm in place, we can now accurately apportion just honor.

After 40+ years of ministry and 20+ years of pastoral leadership, it is evident that Pastor Michael Davis has personified the characteristics of Christlike greatness. In a church culture where most leaders find their validation and satisfaction in their ability to demand and require of God’s people, he has remained vigilant to his responsibility to simply serve. If you spend anytime around Pastor Mike you will quickly learn there is no shred of pretense or the slightest air of ostentation. He has nothing to prove and no one to impress; he does not require our validation nor seek for our approval. He just is. He is pure hearted and authentic; he is generous and forgiving; he is selfless and sacrificial; he is unique and creative; he is fair and pious; he is committed and patient; he is honest and sincere; he is forthright and dependable; he is passionate and insightful; he is brilliant and eloquent. He is simply the greatest man, according to Christ’s definition, I have ever met.

He is a husband, a father, a preacher, a leader, an author, and a theologian but what makes him “great” at all of these responsibilities is because he is first a servant. On this Pastor Appreciation Month, we cheerfully honor the Senior Pastor of Impact Church and the overseer of all Impact Ministries, Pastor Michael Davis, for his Christlike and God-honoring service to the Body and Bride of Christ.

We celebrate your greatness.

Love,

Your Son

Double-Honor Worthy

The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17, NASB)

Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7, HCSB)2014061595144051

It is with great excitement that we at Impact Church corporately and individually honor our pastors during the month of October! Although sometimes they make the “hard work” of preaching and teaching seem like a Sunday (Saturday?) stroll in the park, Pastor Mike Davis (Reidsville campus) and Pastor Jason Davis (Greensboro campus) labor among us with tireless devotion. It is altogether fitting that we observe Pastor Appreciation Month in honor of our shepherds who faithfully lead the sheep throughout the year.

An English dictionary typically gives four definitions of the verb “appreciate,” so let’s see how those usages line up with what we want to accomplish this month.

  1. To be grateful or thankful for … Our hearts are filled with gratitude and thanksgiving for the loving, gentle way our pastors lead and serve. We recognize their God-given gifts and anointing, and we feel truly blessed that they have answered the Master’s call to build His Church here in the Piedmont Triad.
  1. To esteem, prize, value or hold in high regard… It’s not hard to be impressed when listening to our pastors passionately preach the Gospel, but those who take the time to get to know them more personally will value the Davis men all the more! These learned, seasoned men possess a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, and they are willing to share it humbly and freely.
  1. To be fully conscious or aware of,as in “to appreciate the dangers of a situation” … Unless you have served as a pastor yourself, none of us probably has an accurate understanding of the sacrifices made by those who carry the burden of our congregations. As we become more aware of how our shepherds lay down their lives in daily ways for the sheep, may we be reminded to lighten their load by praying more fervently for them.
  1. To increase in value… Few of us would say that we help to make the ministry of Pastor Mike or Pastor Jason more valuable. But as gifted as these men are, they’ve never led an empty chair or pew to the Lord! (Well, there were those times when Pastor Jason helped some stuffed animals find salvation!) We make their ministry more profitable by faithfully attending services, listening and growing and equipping ourselves to do the work of the ministry. In return, they get the opportunity to pour into our lives all that the Holy Spirit is revealing unto them. And can we not agree that our lives have been enriched — indeed, they have appreciated in value! — through their ministry?

The writer of Hebrews declared in 13:7 that it’s not enough just to remember our leaders. He instructed us to take a close look at their lives, then “imitate their faith.” We, too, believe that a more intimate examination of the lives of Mike and Jason Davis will reveal that these men walk out every day what they preach and teach. And we invite you to come follow them as they follow Christ!