Appreciating Others' Differences...

       One of the things I love about our church is that we don;t have a "stereotypical Mountain Laker". There is no mold here. We are not a cookie cutter congregation. We have almost everything in our church: from the almost homeless, to the very wealthy in our church; we have white people, black people, young people, and even a good number of old people (we baptized two people in their 70's this past year)!  One of the things God is teaching me as our church grows and reaches  people is the need to appreciate the differences in other people.
        I used to think that for people to be closer to God, they needed to be more like ME! After all, my personality and leadership style is the one God endorses in Scripture...NOT! The truth is, if everyone was like me, we would all kill each other! I am confident in the fact that the church needs my leadership, but also needs the personality and leadership styles of lots of different kinds of people! 
        I think one of the less talked about traits of a good pastor is appreciating all of the differences in the people that make up our congregations. I'm and growing to LOVE and APPRECIATE the differences in people and not see them as the enemy anymore! because of that, I am becoming a better Pastor. Here's what God said about this:

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NLT) Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.