Pastor's corner september 23rd
On Monday night you might hear a faint drum roll from the church around 6:00pm.
It won’t be the praise team practicing. Rather, it will be those final moments of anticipation before Tim Stevens (our consultant from Vanderbloemen) makes his presentation of candidates for the role of Senior Pastor at Grace. We have all been praying diligently in anticipation of this moment. We are excited to hear about who God may be calling to serve our church.
However, with the excitement there is also potential anxiety/questions about what this means for us personally and/or the church as a whole. This is why the PST created a dedicated e-mail account for us to communicate. We even created some questions to prompt the conversation. You can let us know what you are thinking at: and/or share your ideas with a member of the search team.
- What are some of the challenges we will experience with a change in leadership? What fears or concerns are most prominent for you?
- What are some of your expectations about the new leader in terms of age, experience, ethnicity, personality, family/marital status, philosophic/theological emphasis? How will you process your disappointment if one or more of those expectations aren’t met?
- What excites you most about this next season? What new opportunities do you hope the church explores with this transition to a new leader?
- What do you think a new pastor might hope to discover with a move to Pella? How can we prepare ourselves to help facilitate that?
- If our next pastor is not credentialed with the CRC, he would be asked to pursue his “Journey to Ordination” – how do you see that helping/hurting Grace Fellowship?
These questions may not be easy to answer off the top of your head but please give them some consideration. Your perspective will be quite helpful as we begin our interviewing process. We want to hear from you!
~ Pastor Piet
Previous Pastor Corner Blogs
Next month we will be hosting three dear friends (from the UK) here at Grace. I have known them for some time and they have inspiring ministry stories. They are active in national church work in the UK and they have graciously agreed to come and serve us here in Pella from October 16-22.
In their week-long visit, we will sponsor a wide variety of activities in/around the church for our youth, our music team, our women’s groups, and a community wide event on October 18 called, “Hope in the Dark” at the Opera House downtown. Once we have the details ironed-out, you will find a flyer in your inbox. Keep an eye out for it!
I am giving you this advanced notice for a couple reasons:
Please begin praying for Geoff, Rachel and Jo. They are wonderful people. You will thoroughly enjoy them - if nothing else, you will love their accents. Yet, the truth is we will have a very busy week. They will need strength, stamina, and wisdom for all that is being asked of them. May God enable and equip them to walk in the fullness of all he has planned for us.
I’m also asking that you make an advance decision to engage the experience fully yourselves. These folks are expending a good bit of effort and expense to join us for this time. They are coming principally because they believe God wants to do something special for us in this week together. I believe that too, so I hope you will take full advantage.
The reason I believe this is so important is because, when we regularly give to others, we also need to be proactive about refilling our tanks. We may think we are too busy for events like this. We may think we are “OK” as we are. But, please don’t give credence to the passing notion that you really don’t ‘need’ this kind of thing. We do. We all do.
Lord lead on!
~ Pastor Piet
When you think about how your view of God has morphed over the years, what has been the biggest change?
If you grew up around church or Christian school, you probably had a certain picture in your mind about what God was like. Perhaps you saw him as the great judge. Perhaps you saw him more like an opa-figure. Or, maybe more like the president, important and powerful, but also untouchable. Then, over time, your view of God shifted (hopefully matured). As adults we see things differently from when we were kids – maybe even dramatically so.
What has been your biggest surprise? What has changed the most about your view of God?
For me, it is was God’s ardent desire to bless us.
I grew up with a view of God where he was the strict task master. If he were to bless us it would be with eye-dropper exactness – only so much (and nothing more), because he certainly wouldn’t want to spoil us. He wouldn’t want to give us more than we deserve. Waste not; want not!
Then, I remember discovering the truth behind John 10:10, where Jesus makes his promise regarding the abundant life. In that same way, I was struck by the left-over bread in Matthew 14 (after Jesus fed the 5000). My view of God’s goodness expanded. The clincher came as I began to plumb the depths of Paul’s comment in I Corinthians 2:9.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.
What an amazing promise!
I know life is regularly not what we hope or expect. Often it feels like life is working against us and therefore, God himself must be working against us; However, the two are not the same. Life is hard. AND God is good. Never loose sight of that. Our confidence in God’s generous nature is what carries us through.
This past Sunday, I noted that as followers of Jesus we are more than just “anti-murder”, we are also meant to be pro-life – in word and deed. Most of us know what it means to be pro-life in our actions. It includes embracing and supporting overtly pro-life causes.
What’s not as clear is how we become more “life-giving” with our words. Is it about being syrupy sweet? Is it about flattery? Is it only saying nice things or nothing at all?
What does it really mean to be verbally pro-life?
I suggest two things:
Take advantage of “celebration” moments – we celebrate many things in the course of life (birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, holidays, reunions, special dinners, etc.). There is typically an opportunity to “say something” at the celebration. Instead of just waiting until that moment to figure out what to say, consider thinking about it beforehand. Write a note, choose a song, find a poem, share a favorite quote and personalize it. You cannot imagine the lasting impression this has for the one on the receiving end. It is utterly life-giving!
Say what you think – we are advised to evaluate what we say before we say it. Many of us need this advice. Too many of us get in trouble for being too negative, too judgmental, too picky, etc. But, there is also a flip side. We tend to have the same evaluative mindset with the positive stuff too. We think, “I really appreciated their extra effort.” “They looked really nice today.” “That was really helpful.” But, instead of saying it, we self-edit. We assume people don’t need to hear it or we’re afraid of looking like we are sucking up. But, again, these simple expressions of appreciation can be extremely life-giving for those on the receiving end.
God help us to be more like your son who was known for carrying the words of life (John 6:68)!
~ Pastor Piet
So, how does it feel to be in the middle of a pastor search?
It’s OK if that is a hard question to answer. You have been through this process several times in the last few years. Every time something feels a little more settled, something else starts shifting again! Merger… No merger… Is John our interim? Is Piet staying? New person?
This is where it might be really easy for me to say something cliché like, “Let go and let God” or “Don’t worry. Be happy!” O wait, that’s not a Christian saying. But, you get my drift.
So, what do we say?
At the most basic level these scenarios become an exercise in trust.
- Do we believe that God knows and cares?
- Do we think he has our best interests in mind?
- Do we know that God is still in control?
- All of these are trust-related questions.
Trust involves a delicate balance, doesn’t it? There are things God asks us to do and we must do them, if we want to experience his blessing. Then there are things we must release to him and walk forward in confidence, knowing He will bring about the best solution.
As I have been praying, I have been asking the Lord to help get us to that hard-to-find-place of equilibrium: where we do everything we need to do AND let him do everything that only He can do. And as potentially cliché as all that sounds, it is the path we are invited to walk.
And the good news, in this case, is that we are not being asked to walk it alone. If you have questions, comments, concerns, fears or insights, you can let us know at: email@example.com We want to hear from you!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.