Reason # 5,689 for why I deserve zero credit for the success of my church plant

I’ve given myself a couple days to digest the interesting (but great) day that God gave to Aletheia Tampa on Sunday and I still can’t quite properly assess everything. It’s not like I am on an emotional high or anything like that. To be honest, I never was on an emotional high because I was so drained after a day full of running around, setting-up, tearing-down, teaching a Bible study that I never really intended to teach (that’s always fun), and dealing with issues that I didn’t think I would have to deal with (i.e. a 21 year old Afghan war veteran who came in on a wheel chair after falling off of a 40 foot cliff while riding in a military vehicle, only to be ejected from that vehicle, and subsequently breaking his pelvis, both femurs, shattering his spleen among other organs, and being in a medically induced coma for 3 weeks…or how about the 19 year old USF student who had just learned days earlier that one of her best friends, an 18 year old, and his girl friend had just committed suicide).

Needless to say, it was a heavy day at Aletheia. I had originally prepared to go through the first chapter in Ruth (yeah I know, a lofty goal for me but that was the plan). And many of you know that Ruth starts off very dark, with a lot of suffering, and a lot of discouragement. But the suffering part of the story really only lasts for the first 5 verses of the book. After that, things progressively get better and the story proves to be one of the most contrasting, rags to riches stories in the entire Bible. We see that God works through suffering to bring about His will and the end result is joy, blessings, redemption etc.. But I never really made it to the encouraging part, unless you count my brief 2 minute synopsis of verse 6 at the very end (I had to give some hope or else my people would have been depressed all day).

Things just didn’t go as planned so I sit here a couple days later with my original thought: I knew that’s what God wanted me to do (even while it was all happening), but in my mind, the fall kick-off 1 year celebration service at Aletheia Tampa was supposed to be light-hearted and happy. But then I realized while I was teaching that also in attendance was a young 23 year old girl who had just lost her 14 year old sister the week prior due to complications from a surgery, and then one of our volunteers was there in the crowd after losing his 21 year old cousin in a car accident just a week prior…this 21 year old young man, who had just gotten married 3 weeks prior, leaving his new bride behind, widowed, and uncertain about the future.

God really knows what He’s doing doesn’t He? One of the mega-themes of Ruth is God’s providence. I saw it first hand on Sunday. Here it was, the biggest day in the history of our church, tons of people, tons of food, the band rocked the house, everybody was having a blast…and then I got up to teach and painstakingly talked about suffering for 50 minutes. Teaching for 50 minutes of suffering is not what I planned.  I’m not going to lie, I was frustrated, still am a little…but God wouldn’t allow me to move on to the rest of the chapter. He held me back. He did that because there were a lot of people in pain at church, and they needed to hear that suffering is normal, a part of the Christian life, a part of being in God’s will (1 Peter 4:19)…it is in fact, a gift (Phil 1:29), a blessing of sorts (Matthew 5:4). Those wonderful creations and children of God needed to know that God was still there, that he cared, and that there was some kind of purpose for it, if only to test the genuineness of their faith like 1 Peter 1:6-7 tells us. Ironically enough though, not everybody I mentioned above who was and is continuing to suffer through those traumatic events came through our doors on Sunday a believer in Christ…but at least one of them left knowing Christ and His sufferings, a child of God’s now. How amazing is God!? He imposes His will so that complete glory goes to Him. I had the sweetest Bible study planned and I didn’t even get to it…on the highest attended day in the history of this church. The reason: God needed to receive the glory…And you know what? He did!

So there it was… Reason # 5,689 for why I deserve zero credit for the success of my church plant.

Here are some pics from the day that I learned a few more ministry lessons. It was unreal what God did…

5 Comments

  • Shay says:

    I know that I don’t just speak for myself when I say that we are grateful to be serving under a pastor who truly teaches what the Lord prompts and not just what will make him the most likable or make his congregation “feel” the most uplifted.

  • ap says:

    Thanks Shay! You are a constant encourager to the Proffitt familly. Appreciate all that you do.

  • Ace says:

    Thanks for sharing this dude, and for pouring yourself out yet again this Sunday. Aletheia Tampa is blessed to call you its pastor.

  • Sarah says:

    AP, excuse me, Pastor Aaron- I cant think of anyone better for the Lord to pour such a teaching forth. Sometimes I wish I could be in two places at once. Keep gloryifying Him

  • ap says:

    Thanks Ace and Sarah. I appreciate you two and love you two so much. Sarah, I wish you could beam yourself to Tampa as well sometimes. That would be sweet!

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