Dreams and Aspirations
Pastor Wayne Griswold – Excerpted from January 15, 2012
I dream of a great twenty-first century awakening of sorts, a revival in the church and beyond. More prayer and more fervent prayer. More enthusiastic Bible reading. More expectant and earnest worship of God. Spiritual apathy continually replaced by abiding joy. Conversions and baptisms by the dozens. People professing publicly and unashamedly their love for Christ in the thrill of knowing that Christ loves them.
I dream of sinners, lost and dying, captive to sin and under sin’s consequence, being graciously saved and daily sanctified through our life and ministry together. Lives where besetting and enslaving sin is conquered, where freedom in Christ is personally known. Not only freedom from sin’s penalty but its power as well.
I dream of making disciples and growing as disciples. Men, women, youth and children, people of all ages walking through life together, learning what it means to be a true follower of Christ Jesus, then truly following him through whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
I dream of homes where Christ is cherished and God’s character vibrantly displayed. Strong marriages. Reconciled marriages. Children happily pursuing the Lord. Husbands and wives outdoing each other in love. Parents not only teaching with right words but with right actions also. Children honoring their parents in glad obedience to God.
I dream of the wayward, perhaps even after years of godless living, coming to the merciful conclusion that it’s Jesus and him alone who can meet their inner emptiness; prodigals finally turning in repentance to find Jesus himself patiently waiting, then running to greet him or her. I want to celebrate that with you, rejoicing together in God’s steadfast love and amazing grace.
I dream of young people burdened for their peers and school campuses. I dream of the Granite Bay High School campus, a mission field in our own backyard. After-school programs on both church and school facilities. Safe and sober Friday night football post-game celebrations hosted at the church and in the church parking lot. Teacher appreciation breakfasts. Weekly on-campus ministry. Who among us, I wonder, young and old, will God stir to reach those many students and teachers and faculty members?
I dream of a fully-developed church property, our church property. Not that we may glory in a building, not at all. But rather that we may delight in the many additional ministry opportunities that often come with added space.
I dream of a well-organized ministry training program, what I’m tentatively calling The Shepherds Academy; a multi-year program (maybe two or three) whereby we recognize those whom God may be calling to pastoral ministry, help prepare them for this life of servant leadership, then send them out with our full support, blessing, and partnership in the gospel.
I dream of planting churches near and far. In today’s global society the world is literally at our doorstep, and I’d much rather plant new churches in new fields, reaching new communities and people groups, than grow fat and sassy with bulging attendance figures.
My dreams are not at all motivated by the numerical size of the church but rather by the quality of life and ministry in the church.
And I dream of spending my entire pastoral life, God willing, associated with one church—East Parkway Church. In this age where people and pastors leave churches much too easily, in my opinion, how blessed I’d be to experience life together over many, many years through good times and bad; to watch our kids and (for some) even our grandkids grow in faith together. What began for me in February 2000 with God’s call to become the “youth guy” and continued through 2009 with his call to the pastorate, each of them unexpectedly, I pray will continue still until the day I’m lovingly (and willingly!) put out to pasture as pastor.