This week on the podcast we share a conversation between Jeff and Rob Tarnoviski, Lead Pastor of Bethel Fellowship, The Church @ Franklin Mills, in Philadelphia PA. They've known each other for 30 years, and have shared countless life experiences together. You’ll get a chance to listen in on the conversation of two friends talking about their life’s passion: ministry.
Rob and Jeff have gone in very different directions in ministry. Jeff left home, Rob returned home. Jeff is in his third full time ministry location, Rob is still in his first. Jeff has moved churches in directions of change and transition. Rob’s church was focused philosophically when he got there. Rob finished a graduate degree early on, Jeff is just finishing his.
But they have also gone in very similar directions. Both have been focused on ministry. Both have invested heavily in their friendship. Both have never stopped learning and growing. Both have failed miserably and succeeded greatly. Both have wives and kids who enjoy(ed) living in a ministry family. Neither has stayed the same, both have grown, changed, transformed, and moved on. Neither would espouse many of the doctrinal and ministry philosophies they were educated in thirty years ago.
Jeff talks with Rob about his journey of beginning in a church of 80, and over 17 long, wonderful, and difficult years growing with that church to see it today at almost 1,500. Rob is a 200church pastor who never stopped, who outlasted the critics and quitters, and who is just too stubborn or stupid to think that his church can’t reach more people in his community!
Rob’s story is not one of meteoric growth. It is one of faithfulness and consistency over time. His story is one of sacrifice and commitment to a community, a staff team, and a body of believers who were willing to join the team, and buy the vision. Rob grew his church in the first 15 years by about 5 people a month. Modest growth by any means, just over a long period of time.
In 2013 America, most of us pastor types want rapid, exponential growth over a very short span of time! We are not patient to wait for results, we want them quickly. If we do not enjoy immediate results, we are too ready to jet, to fly, to bounce. Jeff’s conversation with Rob is about plodding, slow, hard ministry over a long stretch of time. We hope that it encourages you to think about your own ministry and what your expectations are…
Are you ready to quit? It’s probably too soon. Ready to bounce? You’re likely jumping the gun. Looking up U-Haul’s phone number? Don’t do it quite yet. Life, ministry, and results just take time. Don’t quit. Stay put. Love your people. Depend on God. All easy to say, right? But harder to DO. Who ever said ministry was easy? Yeah, that’s right – no one who ever did ministry!
Finally, what’s it all about?
It’s about Almighty God – our Creator and Maker. We serve him.
It’s about our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The coming King, and current King of the Kingdom. We follow him.
It’s about the Holy Spirit of God, the one who lives within us, counsels us, comforts and empowers us, and gifts us for ministry. We live with him.
Our lives in ministry are about GOD. He doesn't call the fit, he fits the called. We’re the called. Called to love and serve. Called to make a difference in the lives of others and expand the Kingdom of God.
We get to do this! We’re blessed! We hope that this week you are encouraged personally, and vocationally in your ministry. Your leadership, and shepherding in your 200church matter HUGE in the Kingdom of God!
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