A PASTOR’S TESTIMONY
The confrontation had reached a breaking point. She was not going to back down and I was growing weary of her continued prodding. After years of coming up with every excuse I could think of I had run out of excuses. “Fine,” I said. “I’ll go to your VDC!”
“Great,” JoAnn smiled. “God’s going to do such an amazing work in you!”
“Sure,” I mumbled, and took the application from her, promising to fill it out. Actually, I was hoping that she would forget about it. She did not. With much apprehension, I attended my first VDC weekend in Stoughton, Wisconsin. Thankfully, it became one of those benchmark moments in my life.
Time and space does not allow me to share with you everything that happened that weekend. Suffice it to say, I will be forever grateful to Doug and JoAnn Spradlin for their prayers and encouragement and how the Holy Spirit used their “prodding” to break through all my excuses. So allow me share with you the impact VDC has had on my life, my ministry, and my focus.
Impact on my personal life
I was convinced I would make it through the weekend unscathed, unchanged and at best, unimpressed. Jesus had other plans! His Church was praying for transformation in me. He answers prayer! To be on the receiving end of the power of our good Father through the intercession of hundreds of Christ followers is an amazing, life-altering experience.
All of us need a time of refreshing. The weekend away afforded me the chance to reflect and experience the truth of God’s grace in my life; to be encouraged and reminded that God loves me, not because I am a pastor, or a leader, but simply because I am His child. It was amazingly refreshing.
Impact on the church (little ”c”)
By this, I mean the church in which I serve. As a pastor, I must recognize that one of my first responsibilities is to, “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” (Ephesians 4:12). With few exceptions, I cannot think of any ministry or experience that has had such an impact in the lives of the people I love and serve. To be able to witness significant life-change in men and women who are touched with the reality of God’s grace is pure joy! VDC is nothing short of Spiritual Boot Camp for our people. They return energized, grateful, and empowered.
Impact on the Church (big “C”)
As a pastor, whether you are the lead pastor or one of your church’s leadership team, it is easy to get a “fortress” mentality. With all the demands upon our lives and the constant pressure to get “ministry” done, we lose focus and fail to see the Christian community at large beyond our own walls. Sure, we may have a few pastor acquaintances, a couple of friends here or there, but how often do we actually give thought to what Christ is doing in the lives of others in different communities and cities not far from our own. Even better, in the lives of believers who happen to be of a different “denomination.” If we are not careful, we get “Elijah-osis” (‘I am the only one…’ – 1 Kings 19:10). Have you ever been there?
Witnessing the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the lives of believers from other churches, denominations and from places that I’ve never heard of is not only encouraging and uplifting, it promotes community and New Testament fellowship. I am not the only one…Thank You, Jesus! I am thrilled to see how other believers serve and love in the Kingdom. I get to rub shoulders and work with other pastors and lay people who love Jesus and have an awesome testimony of God’s saving grace. It is true community.
God touches our lives specifically and personally. Every Christ follower has been given a testimony of how Jesus has dramatically changed their life and how the Holy Spirit has anointed them with gifts to serve in the Kingdom and proclaim Good News. VDC provides encouragement, reaffirmation, leadership development, spiritual community and is an investment for you as an individual, as a pastor, for your family, for the church you serve and for His Kingdom.
Central Christian Church
Former VDC Spiritual Director