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So what if I can preach?

I was thrilled to be asked in April to come on board and plant the future Mars Hill Renton. Admittedly, however, I wasn’t always this excited about the idea of coming to Mars Hill and giving up preaching for a time.

During my assessment process, I was having a serious internal struggle: I’m a preacher! Why would I ever want to come to a church where I would get very limited time in the pulpit? This question plagued my mind for weeks. If I was being honest with myself, I knew that God had gifted me to preach and teach. This constant mental nagging caused me to seriously consider pulling my name out of the hat for the lead pastor residency.

I’m here at Mars Hill now . . . so obviously something happened. It took a life-changing event that took place at an Acts 29 Boot Camp in Dallas. JR Vassar’s talk, “The Mission,” rocked my world! He said that we’re not all called to be new versions of popular, well-known preachers. I knew that I was not a famous speaker, and so had never thought of myself as preaching anywhere near the level of those types of men. But God spoke something very clear to me in JR’s words: I am a prideful man!

So what if I can preach? So what if I’ve been a college professor? So what if I have degrees? I am a servant of Jesus Christ, and he will use me how he wants! I heard/felt/sensed God telling me, “Go to Mars Hill and serve faithfully, and I will give you the opportunities to preach and teach as I see fit.”

There are lots of people who have told me that I am crazy to “waste” my gift of preaching to come to Mars Hill and serve in a different capacity. But I could not care less about these criticisms. I know I am where God wants me, and that is a feeling that can not be beat, overruled, dampened, or neglected. I will get opportunities to use my most obvious and favorite gift at Mars Hill Church. In addition, I will be learning how to lead people on mission at a church where God is doing mighty works. And for this . . . I praise God!

Here is what God has been teaching me:

  1. God is God, and I am not.
  2. God gave me gifts and he will use them as he sees fit.
  3. My humility exalts his name . . . and that’s where I want to be.

Ryan Welsh is a pastoral resident at the Downtown Bellevue church.

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