Riding the Whirlwind
Greetings, sisters and brothers in Christ here at Southport UMC!
Whew, I’m just catching my breath here. The world has changed in the past couple of months and I’m barely keeping up. Our move to the south side has not been without incident or struggle, but thanks to a variety of helpers that I don’t risk naming (mostly for fear of missing someone) we are here, we are home, we are settling. “Settling,” notice, it’s a process. Just like most of life.
My biggest joy has been spending time with your wonderful staff. As Lead Pastor I guess I could call them my staff. But really they work for and represent you. And you are indeed blessed. They are a committed, creative, hardworking, and simply enjoyable team of servants. I am honored to work with them. They have been extraordinarily patient with me on my steep learning curve, and I am grateful for that.
In addition, I’ve gotten to know – a tiny bit – a congregation who has welcomed us into the family without reservation. But then that is to be expected from a community focused on making disciples, inviting the stranger, including the sojourner. And we have sojourned into your midst. So, thank you for being faithful to your call and to the mission of the church.
So now what? That’s what I know is on your minds and hearts right now. Where will we go, what will we do together, what will our priorities be, what themes and issues and opportunities will be before us? I don’t know. Sorry, you were expecting some great revelation, some stirring vision. Aragorn inspiring the troops before the battle of Helm’s Deep (“There shall come a day when the hearts of men shall fail – but it is not this day!”) (Sorry, non-Lord of the Rings fans). Instead you get … “I don’t know.”
Well, to be honest, that is both true and not true. It’s true I don’t know many of the specifics of how things will roll out in the near or even distant future. I don’t know what sermon topics I’ll be preaching in the weeks ahead (Sorry Dayspring, I know that makes you guys uneasy – but I have no doubt it will be good!). I don’t know what classes I’ll teach, what books we’ll read, what we’ll gather around and who will lead and grow and who will reach out in new and exciting ways. I just don’t know all that yet.
But what I do know is that we will be the church. And I know we will connect as a family, we will grow in our faith, we will serve as disciples, we will give as a sacrifice and we will go help Jesus make disciples of others. We are in conversation to rethink some of our structures and patterns and ministries. Look for more information on family ministries coming real soon. It is an exciting time.
In the meantime, join me in praying for the church, for God’s will to be done in this place and for us to know and share Jesus’ love for the world. What I do know is that we will accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine because the Spirit resides in and among us. Of that I have no doubt.