THE WAITING IS OVER!
In my June message I commented as follows:
It is my privilege to journey with you over the coming months as you continue to await the arrival of a new full-time minister. Waiting is never easy and, if you are anything like me, you will be impatient for your new minister to arrive.
Your vacancy committee were not idle as they waited. In fact, I can’t recall ever having seen a more creative, active and dedicated team as they visited congregations Sunday by Sunday, handed out leaflets at the General Assembly and maintained a positive outlook throughout. They are to be commended and their efforts have borne fruit, which is wonderful.
Well here we are a few months later and your waiting is over! You are getting a new minister, Stuart Love, and he will be in place within a few weeks. He was worth waiting for and all along God had a plan to prosper you and now you have a new minister with youth, energy, great gifting and bags of enthusiasm coming your way, so you have much to thank God for.
Given that you have a new minister coming in a few weeks, I thought it might be helpful to give you some ideas on how you might support Stuart when he arrives.
1. Give him a great welcome
Knowing what I do about you as a congregation you will provide a great welcome for Stuart and Ruth. Let that spirit of hospitality remain with you during his entire ministry, and let it spill out into the local community. Introduce him to people who you know who might make his entry into the wider community easier.
2. Tell him who you are a number of times
You only have one name to remember but Stuart has well over a hundred names he will have to learn. Think about ways to make this easier for him and keep telling him your name, as its easier for you to tell him than for him to have to ask again.
3. Respond positively and publicly to the messages he brings
Stuart’s main role is to point you to Jesus through his preaching and as he seeks to do this give him your full attention and respond to the challenges he brings you. The message will first challenge him before it gets to you!
4. Put your total commitment and enthusiasm behind him
You are very talented and committed people so together you will be able to accomplish great things. Get prayerfully behind the new ministry and a one great way to do this is by attending the prayer meeting on Wednesday. I look forward to hearing about your adventures with God in the coming days.
5. Encourage him in any new initiative and support his ideas
There will inevitably be changes that Stuart will introduce. None of us like change but please be supportive of Stuart as he makes changes in a whole range of areas, in the worship, activities, outreach efforts and many others. All of the changes will be motivated by a desire to see the church grow and the name of Jesus glorified.
6. Give him and his wife Ruth space
Stuart and Ruth will need time to themselves and as Stuart’s week will be different to many of yours, as he is busiest on a Sunday. Give them time to relax, rest and recharge their batteries during the week.
From my point of view, I have greatly enjoyed working with you as a congregation. You made me very welcome and I have appreciated your kindness over the last few months. I am so glad that you have found a great new minister and you will always have a special place in my heart. I will remember you in my prayers and don’t be surprised if you see me in a pew near you some Sunday in the future.
May the Lord richly bless you as you enter this new stage in your congregational life.