My name is Wade. That’s me in the picture to the right. I spent this Summer working as an intern for IGC, and I am now in Southern California for another year of studies at Talbot School of Theology. As always, I am thinking about IGC even as I'm involved at a wonderful church plant in Anaheim. A number of things make me incredibly grateful to be a part of the family at IGC: the humble leadership, the emphasis on teaching and preaching the Word and hearts that are receptive to the Word. The thing that makes me most happy to be a part of this church family is the servant attitude of most everyone involved in the church. Many of the church members have been working with each other in ministry for years, and I have always known them to be selfless and sacrificial with their time and resources to serve each other and the surrounding community.
Pastor Michael, Shawn and I get a lot of attention because we're in the classroom teaching or in the pulpit preaching, but we are not put on a pedestal. The people at IGC know us too well to place us in that position. We are in as much need of the Gospel as everyone else. That is not to say that we downplay the significance of our specific roles in the church body; we strive to be biblical in all aspects of our ecclesiology. However, we want to give due respect to those who are not standing in front of people every week. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:14, "for the body does not consist of one member but of many." Our local church body is made up of a wide range of people with different occupations and in different age groups and life situations - and all are uniquely gifted to contribute to the body of Christ.
It would be a shame to look at our pastor as the sole representative of the church. Rather, we should look at the guys who wake up early every Sunday morning to set up the auditorium for our use. We should look at the men and women who spend their limited free time talking to and serving other members of the church. We should look at the kids who fill the room with laughter at the end of each service. We should look at the couples who open up their homes for the small groups to meet in. We should look at the member who struggles with doubt or the member who is fighting desperately against his sin. We should look at the quiet members who don't say much. These are the people that make up IGC.
As Paul continues in 1 Corinthians 12, he includes every member as a vital part of the church body. Even “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” So it is with our church. Every member matters, and we recognize that every member has something to contribute to the life of this church. We recognize that God has sovereignly placed every one of us in this local body for the sake of his name. We want to equip the members to best minister to the people in their lives - whether they are in the church or not.
It is my joy to be a part of IGC because I know that I am merely one piece of a larger whole. Neither Pastor Michael nor I need to make a lot of noise or try to control everything that's happening in the church. God alone is in control of the church, and we joyfully submit our preferences for the health of the body. There are many people at IGC that are smarter than I am, more articulate than I am, more humble than I am, more generous than I am, more prayerful than I am and much harder working than I am. This is not a big concern to me because I am not in competition with anyone at the church, and as far as I know, no one else at IGC is in competition with anyone else. I need others in the church to be smarter, more articulate, humble, generous, prayerful and harder worker than I am - just as much as others need me to offer the talents that God has chosen to give to me.
IGC has only been in existence for a few months and I am sure we will encounter difficulties in the future. We are not a perfect church and will never be. However, the character the church members and the trajectory of the church itself have shown me that my involvement in this local body is a very worthwhile endeavor.