Back in 2011, nine months after coming to Hollywood Community Church, I wrote a blog article titled, “Confessions of a New Pastor” in which I laid out some of the very personal and ministry lessons God was teaching me. You can find that article in the archives of my former blog www.brianburkholder.org. Now, more than four years have passed and God is still working on me. Here are a few lessons that God continues to teach me.
1. I am extremely blessed
What an honor to be able to serve our Hollywood Community Church staff and family. Every week I am humbled by the passion, humility and dedication of our ministry teams. Their dedication inspires me, their sacrifice humbles me and their love for Jesus motivates me. Yes, I am extremely blessed to be a part of this wonderful ministry. I love HCC!
2. It takes a team to impact a community
Although, the lead pastor often receives the credit and the accolades for ministry success, it really takes a team. No one person can revive a ministry and no one pastor can build a church. It takes a qualified and unified team. That certainly is what the Lord has given us at HCC. I am honored to serve with some of the best elders, pastors, deacons, administrators, teachers and volunteers that I have seen in 30 years of ministry. Together we are making an impact on our community.
3. It is God’s Word that changes lives
It is easy for preachers to become deceived into thinking that it is our wit, eloquence or charisma that impacts the lives of others. That simply is not true. We may influence people, but we cannot change them. Only the Word of God can change hearts. That is why I am more and more convinced as to the importance of expository preaching. By expository preaching I am referring to the systematic grammatical historical explanation of the biblical text. Such a continuous form of preaching allows believers to study the “whole counsel of God.” Recently, while preaching through I Corinthians, one of our members commented on the teaching of I Corinthians 14 stating, “I didn’t even know that was taught in the Bible.” I love that! Expository preaching moves us away from the most popular passages and allows believers to be confronted with the truth of even the less-known passages of Scripture. As they come face to face with biblical truth, God changes them.
4. Longevity, longevity, longevity
It is often quoted that the three most important words in real estate are location, location, and location. Well, I believe that ministry has a similar adage in that its three most important words are longevity, longevity and longevity. After five years of ministry at HCC I feel as if we are just getting started. I am amazed at pastors who leave their churches after a few short years. After five years, I truly believe that I am just beginning to understand our history, our community and our DNA. Why would I want to go somewhere else just to start all over again? The longer God keeps me at HCC and the longer God keeps our team together the greater the probability of our truly impacting this community for Jesus.
5. God still does the miraculous
What God has done these past five years at HCC is nothing short of miraculous. It has been so rewarding to see Him raise up leaders, create a renewed vision for our community and yes even restore financial stability. Some had thought that HCC was beyond hope, yet God has graciously proven otherwise. He truly can “do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” To Him be the glory the honor and the praise!
Well, that is all that I have for now. Please pray with me and for me that God would continue to mold me into the disciple, husband, father and pastor that He desires for me to be. He is still working on me!