Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching at the ordination service for Paul McDonald at Grace Fellowship Church, Don Mills (DM). DM is a church we planted under the leadership of Julian Freeman back in Janauary 2011.
The way we plant churches is fairly simple. They remain under our direct oversight until such a time as they gain a plurality of elders. That means that DM is the first of our plants to go all the way to complete autonomy. Now that Paul is joining Julian as a co-elder, there is no more need for the elders here to oversee the work there.
That made yesterday a pretty crazy confluence of emotions. On the one level, I have known Paul for years, had him as a student when I taught at Toronto Baptist Seminary, worked with him as an intern here, and have been very involved with his life for quite a few years. I love him. And, it was all blessing to see him stand and vow to follow Christ as one of His undershepherds.
On another level there was sorrow. Knowing that this church will grow and take on its own personality – I suppose it was something like the feeling one gets when you send a kid off to university. It is not that I fear these guys will blow apart once they are “out from under our roof!” I just know it won’t be the same. That is a good thing. But, there is a kind of sadness to it as well.
Some day I hope Julian and I will be able to sit down and write about what we learned through this whole process. One thing I know I learned is that it is deeply encouraging and humbling to work with guys like him and Paul. They have put up with a lot from me through the years because they value the Gospel over themselves. That bodes well for what the Lord might do as DM takes flight under their wise and careful leadership.
Praise the Lord!