This past Sunday was our church’s annual meeting. We go over the budget for the new year and the different offices (like elders and deacons) give a report regarding their activities for the past and upcoming year. Of course I present a report too, but Jim Donald, one of our elders said, “The church really just wants to know how you’re doing, how the ministry is going, etc.”
I thought I would put my notes into a blog, and I decided to give it this title because I’ve heard more than enough times something like, “For the first few months after you arrive at the church you’ll enjoy a honeymoon period with the congregation. Then the real work will begin.” You hear it so many times you almost start to wonder, “Do things really have to stop being enjoyable?” I don’t think they do. This isn’t to say there aren’t problems or difficulties – there have been some, and I’m sure there will be more – but I don’t think it can’t continue to feel like a honeymoon. Maybe it’s like marriage: it can stay enjoyable…even after the first few months.
On to my notes from the meeting (NOTE: some changes have been made to the notes to change them into a blog).
First, I’ll say the greatest blessing associated with my job is the opportunity I have each week to study and teach God’s Word. You’re the recipients of my messages, but I’m the one who’s the most fortunate because I get to spend time studying the Scriptures for a living. I can truly say I have a job that I look forward to each day.
I see two reasons I’m able to invest the time in God’s Word…
- The leadership as well as some other individuals in the church have put forth tremendous effort to allow me to study each week and do the rest of the work of the ministry. I always had a fear of pasturing a church and having to be a deacon instead of a pastor being unable to study, meet with people, counsel, disciple, etc. I’ve said before that I have no excuse not to be able to respond to the congregation quickly, , because of the situation the leadership as well as a number of other individuals have put me in.
- Second, I’m only able to study the Word like I do each week because I’m at a church with people who desire to hear God’s Word and that’s something I really appreciate. I’m thankful that each time I stand behind the pulpit you desire to hear God’s Word as opposed to craving gimmicks or stunts with no sanctifying benefit.
I’d also like to share a brief story. When I was at Grace Baptist before coming here, my old pastor (Joe Gruchacz) would regularly take me to pastors’ conferences and retreats allowing me to spend time with a number of other pastors and hear about their ministries. I learned very quickly that many pastors in their ministries were at best struggling and at worst miserable. Their problems always related to two issues: their relationships with their congregations and/or their relationships with their leadership.
With that said I feel very blessed to be here…
First, b/c of the relationship I have with the congregation. It seems like every family God has added I keep finding to be a really wonderful addition to our church. Also, I’ve told Katie before that I feel like God has given me a real love for the people here. At the same time Katie and I feel very supported and loved. Some people in the church have made a point of being a blessing to us. I really feel like I couldn’t ask for a better congregation to pastor.
Second, I think it’s beneficial for a church to have a strong leadership team with good relationships. At Grace Baptist a number of people commented on the great relationship Pastor Joe and I had and I think it gave them more confidence in the church. You don’t attend our board meetings or Sunday morning leadership meetings so you might not know how we get along, but I really couldn’t imagine better chemistry with a group of guys. I feel very fortunate to be able to serve with each of the men in leadership.
So those are my notes from the meeting. Hopefully I’ll be able to use the same ones next year J.