I hope you're doing OK with all that's happening around us and the feelings it generates.
However, if you're finding it too much and you need someone to talk to, pray with you, or help you find some practical assistance.... please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0419 248 724.
This week's Articles for your personal encouragement are: 'Today Share Your Faith With Someone’ and ' Go to the Mountain of Prayer' (Used with permission from Word for Today). In addition, a great follow-up article to remind us of how we can support Christopher & Simone when they arrive only a few weeks away: '10 Suggestions to Welcome a New Pastor’ by Ron Edmondson ( used with permission from Churchleaders.com).
May the Lord's love and blessing overflow on you as you take time to read and allow him to minister these words into your life.
Go To the Mountain of Prayer
‘He departed to the mountain to pray.’ Mark 6:46 NKJV
Before Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee, He climbed a mountain to be alone with His Father in prayer. He left the demands of the crowd at sunset, prayed until dawn, then came down the mountain in the power of God’s Spirit and stilled a raging storm. (Wouldn’t you love to know how He prayed that night?)
Prayer is a mountain; you have to climb it. ‘Peter and John went up together…at the hour of prayer.’ (Acts 3:1 NKJV) If you wait until you feel like it, you won’t pray consistently. It’s a discipline. And the more you pray the more you want to pray, and the more rewarding it becomes. But first you must turn your back on the ‘crowd’.
Because Christ knew how to walk away from life’s demands and distractions, He was able to still the storm that threatened His disciples. So before you get caught up in the daily rat race, go to the mountain of prayer. It’s a place of stability in an uncertain world; a place where the view is unobstructed, and the frantic pace of life is left behind. There you gain perspective. There Christ reminds you that there’s nothing you’ll face today that He hasn’t already handled, and He’ll give you grace to do the same.
It’s easy to recognise people who’ve been to the mountain of prayer. Their struggles are no different from yours—some are even more challenging. But they’ve an inner peace that transcends family problems, health concerns, budgetary shortfalls, etc. You can endure hard times with grace when you know that the summit is just a prayer away!
‘A woman of Samaria came to draw water.’ John 4:7 NKJV
One day Jesus met a woman who’d come to draw water from a well. After five marriages, her trust in men was probably zero—and her self-esteem below zero! But after her encounter with Christ, she left the well radically changed.
When it comes to sharing our faith, we learn three important lessons from her story:
(1) Jesus sees the best in everybody. ‘The Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners.”’ (Luke 15:2 NKJV) And when it came to the woman at the well, they were right. She’d been through five marriages and was the talk of the town because she was living with another man. Yet she was the first person to whom Jesus introduced Himself as the Messiah. Why didn’t He do that when He called His disciples? Or performed His first miracle? Or interviewed Nicodemus? Because Jesus doesn’t measure you by your past or your pedigree—but by your potential.
(2) Jesus changes you, then He uses you to change others. This woman was the first person to share the gospel in Samaria, and ‘many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman.’ (John 4:39 NKJV) Out of your brokenness, God can use you to make others whole.
(3) Jesus doesn’t need you to explain Him, just to introduce Him. He speaks for Himself. The Bible says: ‘Many more believed because of His own word… They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ.”’ (John 4:41–42 NKJV) Today share your faith with someone.
Here are 10 suggestions for welcoming a new pastor:
Pray for him daily
You knew I’d say that. Right? But, truly, there is no greater comfort for a pastor than to know people are praying for them by name. I can literally feel it at times. On an especially stressful day, I sense God’s protection by the prayers of God’s people.
Love and honour the pastor’s family
This includes helping them acclimate to the community. Especially if there are still children at home, they will need more family time at home, not less. The family is stretched and stressed out of their comfort zone and pulled in so many directions. Let the pastor have adequate time at home. Let the family time be honoured as much as their church time.
Tell the pastor and family your name—again
And again. And again, if necessary. Learning names may be the hardest thing a new pastor has to do. Give them ample time to learn yours.
Don’t gossip about the pastor or family
There will almost always be changes when a new pastor comes to a church. If you don’t understand something—ask. Be very careful not to propagate misunderstandings. Be a positive voice for the future. And, stop gossip and rumors as soon as you hear them.
Say, things like, “Pastor, I’m here to help.” And mean it.
Introduce the pastor to leaders
In the church and in the community, it is helpful if the pastor knows the influencers whom they will likely encounter during their ministry. The earlier the better.
Let the pastor set the pace
It will take a while for a new pastor to figure out their stride. Give them your understanding during this time. They may not make every visit you want them to make. They may not place priority where you think it needs to be placed. They may not introduce change as fast as you want them to, or it may seem too fast. Let them set the pace—especially in the early days.
Don’t offer a million suggestions
There will be time for that, but the new pastor needs time to learn the church. Most likely you’re already doing lots of things—some good and maybe some not so good. Let them learn who you are as a church before you fill their head with too many new ideas.
A new pastor will make their own mistakes. Don’t hold a previous pastor’s mistakes against them. Don’t assume, based on their history or your expectations of them, that they will perform a certain way. They may. They may not. I came out of the church planting world and into an established church. I think some people assumed I’d wear sandals on Sunday. I haven’t yet.
Extend the honeymoon
Honestly, it usually seems too short anyway. If the pastor begins to make any changes at all, some people lose faith in them. A new pastor needs time to acclimate. They need time to learn you and the church. Keep loving and supporting them, even when changes become harder to make and harder to accept. If God brought the pastor to your church, God wants to use them there. Let God do as God intended.