Ryan and I went to Nats vs. O's with The Gang last night. The Gang includes people like Christy, Jim T, Leslie, John, Ruth, Jill, and Jim R...most of us have been friends and hanging out with one another since we all met up at an NCC small group in 1998-1999. They were all involved in our wedding in some way. We've all been small group leaders at some point. Amazingly, we've all stayed in the DC area and most of us are still at NCC.
Last night was so good for several reasons. First, I got to hang out at the ballpark-- one of my favorite places to hang out in the summer. Secondly, I got to eat hot dogs and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. But most importantly, I got to be with really good friends who have encouraged me, questioned me, loved me, challenged me, and kicked my butt for a long time. Hanging out with these people is a priority for me. To put it in Daniel terms, these guy are my Hananiahs, Mishaels, and Azariahs. They are people that let me take the pastor cap off and put the Yankees cap on (okay, so not all of them are thrilled about the Yankees cap per se...) Anybody in full-time ministry needs people like that in their lives, and I am so incredibly thankful for these folks.
Do you have a Gang? If not, ask God to bring you some people into your life that let you take off the leadership hat off and put the Yankees hat (or insert favorite team here) on.