Many of the pastors who have visited our church have been envious that we have so many dedicated lay-leaders.
Many of them are not just dedicated but devoted. They include a deacon who has completed 5 building projects without expecting any recognition at all, not even a plaque of appreciation. Another sister has faithfully served as the head Bible teacher for house churches, training teachers to lead Bible studies for house church meetings every week for 10 years. Another brother donated a large sum of money to a house church ministry fund, more than enough to cover my expenses after I retire.
Some of our lay leaders are so sacrificial that I feel especially honored to work with them.
Deacon Seung Hyun Seong, an engineer by profession, serves as Executive Director of House Church Ministries International, overseeing a vast organization to help pastors and shepherds in house church ministries. As President, I only make the big decisions; all of the dirty work is done by him. He does so much that people sometimes wonder which is his true profession – engineering or house church ministry.
Brother Kwang U Park used to be an executive at a major oil company, in charge of equipment acquisition, where he managed an annual budget of $800 million. After he received Christ as his personal Savior at our church, he decided to take an early retirement to help my ministry. He has done a lot of unflashy work that would have been seen as below him when he was in the corporate world, and now oversees our entire church operation.
Pastor Eric Shin has proven himself an able pastor, completing a $4 million building project and serving 400 adult church members. Unlike many second generation Korean-American pastors who bristle against their first generation senior pastors and seek independence as soon as their congregations become sufficiently large, he has remained a partner with me and submitted to my authority, also taking take care of our church-wide youth ministry.
Pastor Soo Kwan Lee is now recognized by his peers as an able pastor and a prime candidate to lead a large church. He serves with the sole purpose of making my ministry successful, ignoring some people’s ridicule that he simply imitates my leadership style.
Sister Eun Joo Lee, Pastor Lee’s wife, who is losing her eyesight and can only distinguish light from dark (not shapes) wanted to serve me before her eyesight got worse, and has cooked meals in our church’s kitchen every Saturday, serving my lunch for almost 2 years, never making the same dish twice.
If a pastor had just one partner like these, he would consider himself blessed. But I have had many. Because of them, I am truly blessed.
The thing I am most thankful for on this Thanksgiving Sunday is these people. And I promise to do my utmost – to the point of death – not to disappoint these faithful partners in ministry.
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