‘We want to grow’, screamed our advert. The church I have been helping over the last two years had got to the place when they felt they were ready to start looking for a new pastor after nearly three years without one.
The small print in the advert continued our ‘We want to grow’ theme:
” Small, mission minded, friendly, sea-side church on the Essex ‘sunshine coast’, seek an evangelical minister who would value an opportunity to explore new ways to help us reconnect with our community and communicate the gospel in culturally relevant ways.
The successful candidate will be an inspiring, spirit filled, Bible focused preacher and teacher, who believes the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today and exhibiting the fruit of the Holy Spirit is able to spiritually feed us with practical teaching from God’s Word. They will also have
- A creative, forward-looking spirit
- Experience of engaging with local communities
- A good sense of humour and a joyful spirit
- A strong desire to see people brought into the family of God
On our part we would honour the new pastor as a gift from God and support them prayerfully, financially, practically and provide accommodation”.
We finished the advert with: ‘We are ready for take-off!’
I was amazed as over 50 replies rolled in from some really gifted people willing to come and help us grow. We prayerfully and carefully began to sift them against a detailed list of specific skills we felt the new pastor would need to be effective in helping us be missionary disciples.
We whittled the list down to twelve and then a small representative selection group of Kingdom minded members prayerfully agreed on three candidates to approach. As we did this it became very clear to us which of these three could be God’s new leader for us, and so we began conversations with him and invited him to spend two weekends with us, to see if the leading was mutual. Would he also feel we were right for him? Did we have teachable spirits? Were we really willing to do what it takes to become a disciple making centre?
We called a special meeting for the members last night to see if we all felt this man was the ‘pastor’ gift for us from Jesus as promised in Ephesians 4.
He isn’t a perfect man. ‘Supposing it doesn’t work out?’ asked one member. I explained what a church should do if the pastor/people relationship goes sour (see my blog on ‘The wrong Pastor’), but like a marriage you must start out in faith that it will work.
We are aware of his journey and background and some of the disappointments and hurts he’s experienced. And he doesn’t have an ‘Essex man’ accent! But we all saw a man with a deep love for God, for people and the Gospel and when every member present said ‘Yes’, we feel he is God’s gift to us’, a big Hallelujah!!!! filled the church hall as the meeting burst into spontaneous applause. Tears were shed, people were hugging each other; others bowed low in prayer.
A totally 100% united church
A church that had known so much pain and at one time was scared of calling another pastor had experienced a Goddy moment.
Truly the best ‘Christ’mas present a church could have.