Whenever I mention to someone that our church is currently without a senior pastor, I typically get a reaction somewhere in between pity and concern. No one’s face immediately lights up with an expression of delighted surprise. The response is nearly always some form of the question, “So, how are you doing?” Sometimes it’s pointed at me personally. Other times, people want to know how our church is faring. In both cases, I feel compelled to reflect on the Lord’s surprising grace to our church and to me personally during this unusual season of its life.
As the lead interim pastor, I have found more grace than I’ve known before in ministry, particularly in the form of an enlarged capacity to meet the demands of an expanded role. I should have known: God never puts more responsibilities on our shoulders than He intends to give us the strength to carry. While I have previously exercised myself in more administrative pastoral functions, caring for the needs of this flock has been a delight, even when it’s demanding or unpredictable.
Additionally, the team of pastors and staff that God has put in place at HBC has developed a camaraderie that is remarkable. I have sensed God enabling each individual to fulfill His calling with joy. Furthermore, our deacons are a blessing to meet with, as together we prayerfully seek God’s next leader for this ministry and oversee the ministry in the meantime.
I also sense that our church congregation is drawing closer as a family, enjoying fellowship with one another around the Word of God and worshipping our Savior Jesus Christ. We have found stability in the faithfulness of our God to meet our needs. God is not only granting spiritual depth to our congregation and binding us together, but he is also adding new families to us.
How does this happen? What does God do in our hearts to enable this sort of growth? I mark three specific works of the Lord in my own heart and all throughout our congregation:
- God gives a spirit of need and humility. We cannot succeed as a church without His favor, intervention, and provision. God dwells with humble, needy people (Isaiah 57:15).
- God gives a spirit of unity and love. We are in this together, and we move forward best when we forget our petty differences and focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, Who saved us and is the center of our ministry. True unity is found as we love our Savior and one another (Ephesians 4:1-6).
- God gives a spirit of faith and hope. We will walk into the future one faithful step at a time, as we follow the Lord’s clear revealed will for us (Psalm 37:3).
I’m encouraged by God’s gracious attention to our church in our time of need; and I’m eager to see how He will provide for us in the future all the way until His return. Until then, may the Lord give our congregation much grace to faithfully follow in His ways.