SOS Mark Lee

Mark Lee is the lead pastor of VantagePoint Church in Eastvale, CA started in 2008 with the dream of being the hands and feet of Jesus to their local community.

It was the second year of our brand new church and I was convinced that God was telling me something – it was time to quit the ministry. Nope, never had an affair. Didn’t steal anything from the church. Relationship with the family…priceless.

I was tired and I didn’t know how to distinguish God’s voice from my own fatigue.

It began with a dream to plant in a great new area of Southern California.  Churches and businesses alike saw the promise of a brand new, growing community and envisioned a gold mine of growth.  It was big.  It was new.  It was beautiful.  The sales people were prettier than the showrooms and they all assured you that you didn’t even need a down payment to buy a house.  Perfect!  However, if you looked beyond the nicely manicured lawns, churches were non-existent.  They opened.  They closed.  Few survived and fewer thrived.  It was an area known for killing churches.

But when we started VantagePoint Church, God’s favor became evident. Preview service #1 – 220. Grand Opening – 350. Easter – 414. Fall Series Kickoff – 611.  We even grew during our first summer!  I was convinced it was only a matter of time before publishers came knocking at the door for a book deal on how to grow a church during the summer.  Like most pastors, I was on a high every time we broke a new barrier. But there was never time to celebrate because we were too busy moving forward.  I never left the pulpit.  I preached almost every week for 2 years.

Then we relocated to a new facility, and everything about it just made sense.  It was a gorgeous, 550-seat performing arts center with a million lighting cans and a couple of spotlights that we simply referred to as “shekinah.”

That’s when it first happened.

That’s when people began leaving.  The church felt different they said.  The same faces were reporting for duty.  But now they were looking frayed.  And when a friend told me that I wasn’t the same guy I used to be, I began to wonder, maybe I’d made a mistake.

We started sounding 5 alarm fire signals. And that’s when I decided to quit. To leave the ministry God called me to.

The church hadn’t even leveled out, we just weren’t growing the way I had planned.  And that was the struggle.  My plan v. His plan.  My fame v. God’s fame.  My expectations v. God’s expectations.  Instead of focusing on my own faithfulness to God, my spiritual report card was always tied to a number that could never be high enough. If we could only reach 250, I’d be happy. Then 250 became 500. 500 became 750. Happiness was a mirage that was always 250 people beyond my grasp. I never stopped to see the hidden blessings of life change all around me. Marriages were being healed. Addictions were being overcome. We were adorning the gospel through the way we loved our community.

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