The Joy of Ministry

So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.

- Galatians 6.9

What are we doing here?  This seems like an obvious question on one hand but it is actually rarely asked.  At times, I suspect we are afraid of the answer.  Thinking about what we used to do tends to be a good diversion.  These are questions we as a congregation need to ask on a regular basis.  As the world becomes more chaotic, having an understanding of our purpose keeps us from being tossed to and fro on the waves. 

On Sunday, January 13th, I  sat down with the new class of Deacons for our first meeting of the year.  Obviously, there is a great deal of chaos with a new group of people joining something and that was definitely the case.  That said, I’m beginning to see a different kind of energy emerging.  Too often we get caught in the trap of trying to do what we have been doing, only better.  That is common when the same group of people are together for a long time.  As a pastor, I have watched myself slip into this very pattern of thought at each of the six churches I have worked within.  There are things that don’t make sense.  I would have questions just after joining that eventually fade away into the phrase “We’ve always done it this way.” 

Obviously, there are often long standing reasons for doing some things.  One of the joys I have found in the longevity I’ve had in congregations since being ordained is the depth of relationships that are formed.  There is also a continual learning of history which, whether joy filled or pain filled, is always enlightening.  There is much to gain from understanding “why we do it this way”. 

Herein lies the reason I am excited and hopeful in this coming year.  Our Deacon Board contains members who have worshiped in our congregation for 45 years and some who have worshiped with us for 4 months.  Our Session is constituted of two members who have worshiped here since birth, one retired and one in the middle of their career.   Two who have worshiped at First Presbyterian for over 40 years.  One who has worshiped for almost 20 years at First.  One for five years and one for a year and a half. 

This diversity in involvement at First Presbyterian provides a strong mixture of people who understand reasons for why “we have always done it that way” with people who ask “why are we doing this” along with people between who can see both sides well.  I know I may sound like a broken record, but I am excited again for our leaders who have answered the call of this congregation and of God to serve with the best of their being.  I believe this year, as we pass into our 150th year of ministry will be a great one!  May it be so.

 

Respectfully Submitted in Christ’s Service,

Pastor Jeremiah

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