Following Jesus Better

By Pastor Dean Davenport, Senior Pastor
From the heart of Pastor Davenport

7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” 1 Kings 3:7-9.

I share this text from 1 Kings because in many ways I can identify with Solomon. I do not know everything. I’ll be the first to admit it. I often wonder why God has me doing what I’m doing – do I really have what it takes to shepherd a large family? Sometimes I feel inadequate. Sometimes I don’t know how to carry out my duties either. It’s when I’m feeling like this that I am driven to my knees in prayer, asking God for wisdom, guidance & clear vision for following His will.
For the past couple of years, a recurring prayer of mine has been that the Lord would give me, as your Senior Pastor, “eyes to see, ears to hear & a heart to embrace what God’s will is for COS”. My passionate desire is for us, myself included, to be the best that we can be as disciples of Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for where we are & how we are being used as Jesus followers, but I’m not content & don’t believe that any of us should be either, thinking that we are good enough, “thank-you very much”. We haven’t arrived & won’t until Jesus comes again. I want to know, & want you to know, the breadth & length & height & depth of God’s love for us in Jesus. As we take that next step in our growth as followers of Jesus I believe that God will do abundantly more, through us, than we could ask or think possible (Ephesians 3). When I think about all of that I get excited!

The Lord has blessed COS over the 40+ years of our time here in Livonia with faithful & servant minded members, dedicated & passionate pastors & church workers. People have been introduced to Jesus & have come to know Him as their personal Savior. Our neighbors in Livonia & Detroit are being served with the love of Jesus by meeting their physical & spiritual needs. Praise the Lord! Now what?

It would be easy to just continue on in what we have been doing. We know how to do that. We’re comfortable & content. People will continue to be served with the love of Jesus. Services & Bible classes will continue. Funerals & weddings will be scheduled. I firmly believe that we have an opportunity before us that has come not of our own making, an opportunity to stretch & grow as followers of Jesus.
 
We have so much potential here! I’m excited to see how the Lord will use us for His glory! I envision a Discipleship Pastor as one that walks alongside me, Pastor Eden, & the rest of the staff challenging us to grow in our discipleship skills so that we can help those that we are serving be the “Jesus followers” that God wants them to be in their families, workplace, & community. I also see him being given “permission” by COS to be a blessing to other congregations as well, whether they be in our circuit, District or throughout our synod. There are many congregations that would benefit from a Pastor focused on discipleship.

I see all of this as the next step in growing our faith relationships, multiplying the influence that Jesus can have with our neighbors wherever they are. COS has been blessed to be a blessing!
I have told my kids 100 times if I said it once “if you want to get better you have got to play with kids that are better than you”. I saw it when I was playing sports. If I played with my next door neighbor we’d have fun, get tired & make some great memories. If I wanted to get better at, let’s say basketball, I was going to have to play with some other kids who were better than my neighbor & better than me because they were going to push me, they were going to “demand excellence” – my neighbor wasn’t going to do that.

As your senior pastor I’m confident enough in what I bring to the table to know that I don’t know everything.  I know that there are other pastors who are at the top of their game when it comes to a specific focus of ministry, a certain skill or maybe even years of experience in the ministry. When you “hang” around them your “game” is elevated as they push & encourage you. I want to play with those that are going to push me. I want our staff to be stretched too. We are called to much more than the status quo. We are called to excellence whether a member of the staff or a member in the church – we are called to be a growing & maturing follower of Jesus! He loves you and so do I!

Photo by Felipe Correia on Unsplash
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