2019 will contain the 10th birthday of ReCAST Church. The time has gone by in the spirit of the proverbial “the days are long but the years are short.” So I will kick off this anniversary year by sharing five observations from ten years of being a lead pastor.
1. Preaching creates a rhythm.
My life has been tamed by a weekly routine. Every Sunday I will get up and give a sermon that requires research, contemplation, and much thoughtful reading. At the start, I was just learning to formulate a plan to make this happen each week. But over the years, I have settled into a routine that allows me to study diligently AND have time for people. Something to the rhythm is comforting. It has taken a man who loves spontaneity and caused me to rest in the routines of weekly preparation.
2. God is faithful.
I honestly didn’t know if ReCAST was going to fly. I knew that, IF it was going to fly, it was going to be simply because God wanted it to. It may strike many as surprising, but the feelings of stability have never settled on me over the years. I might have thought that there would be a magic number that a church congregation reaches and then the pastor would breath a big sigh of relief. But I count it as an individual act of God’s faithfulness every single time I get up to preach and someone has come to listen. The awe and wonder of the way that God brings together a church hasn’t worn off, even in the rhythm and routine.
3. People need the gospel.
There is a huge need for good news in a world full of bad news. Over ten years, I have heard my share of bad news. The loss of children. The loss of parents. Car accidents. Cancers. Broken marriages. The devastating effects of sin. Increasingly, I have found myself pressing down deeper into the only source of comfort I can find. The good news that this isn’t all there is compels me to press on. The good news gives me something of substance to share to those who are hurting. Jesus loved us enough to come and rescue us from our own sin and crud. That simple truth has held me in ministry. I keep going, because there are still people who need to hear the gospel, so they can find hope.
4. My wife is my best friend.
I wouldn’t have made it 10 years without my wife on board. She has been my cheerleader, my administrative assistant, and occasionally my conviction. We were so clearly made for each other that her existence in my life has often strengthened and grown my faith that there is a God who loves Don Filcek. We have grown closer over the years of ministry. And not every year has been easy or fun. But every year of pastoral ministry for me has been a year of being a pastor’s wife for Linda. And she has grown alongside of me with grace and wisdom.
5. ReCAST has matured.
There is a stability that has come to ReCAST over the years. We have grown deeper and more settled into our relationship with Jesus Christ. Everywhere I look, I see people growing in faith, growing in community, and growing in service. From sending our first missionaries, to building a building, to adding more elders, to hiring staff, ReCAST has made strides to continue to gospel ministry in the community of Mattawan. We have grown numerically, but more importantly, we have grown spiritually.
It sure has been a privilege to serve this gathering of Christ-followers. We have had some high points and some low points over ten years. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It has been the ten years God had for me, and I consider every slow day and every fast year as a gift from His hand. Thank you, God, for ReCAST Church!