In the time leading up to the induction of a new Senior Pastor, there can be a growing expectation of things to come. The hope of new directions, of building on the foundations already laid, can be both exciting and encouraging as well as a little intimidating. A new pastor will bring new ideas, new hopes, new vision, new perspectives. All these things are good to refresh the church and stimulate us to greater service for our God.
The difficulty in the building expectations at this time is two-fold. The first potential problem is the expectation that the new Pastor will be next-in-line to God Himself. That is, that we expect that every hope and dream that we have ever had will find its fulfilment in the ministry of the new pastor. This attitude is both dangerous and wrong. A pastor would be the first to admit that he, like us, is an a journey of discipleship. We all have things to learn about our walk with the Lord. It is as we listen to the story of one another's journeys that we learn about how we can be better disciples of Jesus, and how we can see His church built more into His image.
The second potential problem follows that we take our focus from God and place our hope in a man. We have indeed called one person as senior pastor to lead us as God's people. His task however is the task of a servant - to lead us to God, to turn our focus upon Him, to hear what He is saying to us, and the new directions in which He wants to lead us. God will speak to us in new ways through him. Some of the things God wants to say to us may not be pleasing to our ears. God desires repentance of us for past sins; He wants to continue to bless us as we grow and change in Him - to become more Christ-like. These things cannot be achieved except by God alone. It is His voice that we want to hear.
Let us pray over these coming weeks that God will prepared both our new pastor and his family, and us as God's family, for the work of the kingdom that we will share together under his pastoral leadership. For us, there will be the need to have the strength to own past failures and open ourselves up to the new things which God will bring to us. For our new pastor, there will be the need for strength and wisdom in discerning and proclaiming God's word - no matter how popularly or unpopularly it may be received. Let our overall prayer be "Our hope is in You Lord, help us to hear and obey Your word for us in this new era."
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