From the Pastor’s Desk: March 26

What’s next for Grace? Little is predictable in the life of a church in 2015. There was a time when things were assumed about churches. For instance: there would always be the next generation to pick up where someone left off; and there would always be specific ways to study the Bible or to worship that people would flock to.

We can’t assume anything about the life of a church anymore. In many cases the next generation isn’t interested in what the prior generations have done. Our old ways of structuring Christian Education don’t connect with the majority of our congregation. The model of opening the doors and waiting for people to come to us is gone. This is a lot to grasp. In some ways this is hard, but it many ways it is exciting because it means that we must listen for where the Spirit is leading us to try new things.

This leads to my next question. What’s next for my leadership at Grace? My time serving at Grace has been both predictable and unpredictable. In the predicable: I preach and lead worship; I lead Bible study; I work with you on ministry initiatives; I visit you in the hospital; and the list goes on. In the unpredictable, many of you will recall that I originally came here as your associate pastor. After a most unusual series of events in 2012 I became your designated senior pastor.

The word ‘designated’ is important because my call was to serve in this position for three years. I am now working with the Grace session to determine what my future looks like at Grace. I very much feel called to serve here as your pastor. Because of the nature of my contract, a new call must be extended. As I work with the session on this, I want all of us to take some time to talk about where we think God is calling our church.

When I came into this position the church was coming out of a place of crisis, and that shaped my leadership. We are now in a place of possibility and excitement, and it’s a great opportunity to look at what kind of leadership is called for now at Grace. As we move forward together it may mean that I focus my time differently. Because of the nature of my call and contract we have to think about this, which is an incredible opportunity. Too often churches keep doing what they’ve been doing without examining why.

In the coming weeks and months you’ll be hearing from your church session. You’ll receive a letter from them detailing the process that is before us. They will invite your feedback, and I hope you will reach out to them.

What’s next for Grace? There’s a lot I don’t know, but I believe that the Spirit is at work here, and I am confident that when we open ourselves up to the work of that Spirit, we will know what’s next.

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