From the Pastor’s Pen . . .
The appointments I’ve held prior to First Bristol have been small, multi-church charges. On any morning, I might walk into the church and find I am the only person in the building. My office hours were quiet, secluded, set apart, even lonely.
As I’m writing this article, however, I’m catching the end of the Men’s Prayer Group, from which folk are dispersing either back home or to different responsibilities and conversations around the church. I walked in the door with Jeff Neal coming in to care for our shared space. Carol Johnson came in shortly thereafter to help keep us all organized and informed.
Most days are punctuated by people asking to meet me, or showing up at my office door because they are accustomed to the pastor keeping regular hours. That’s really different from the small churches I’ve served previously. I’ve always had to hunt people down to find out what their needs were, to find out who was sick or hospitalized, to find out what I can do to help grow their ministry.
Not here. Here at First Bristol, people have been seeking me out. It’s unusual, atypical in a really good way. It’s as though y’all are invested in doing the work of ministry.
It’s really exciting, y’all. There is stuff actually happening here! There are things going on! There are people involved in doing ministry!
Of course, not everybody is, and that’s pretty typical of a church. Of any organization, really. Not everybody is committed or involved to the same degree. Some folks have too much going on somewhere else, are tired or ill, or feel like they’ve already had their turn and it’s about time some of these younger whippersnappers stepped up and took the reins.
But the Apostle Paul describes the Church as a Body. And if we are a body, all our various body parts have to work together to get things done.
I remember one day, when I was a little older than our kids are now, my family took a trip from Maryville to Gatlinburg. I sat awkwardly in the car, with a leg tucked under me, and I had no idea that it fell asleep while we were driving.
How one doesn’t notice that process, I’m not sure, but somehow I missed it.
So when I got out of the car and put that foot down on the ground, it completely gave way under me and I crumpled onto the pavement.
That’s the kind of clumsiness we are subject to when one part of the body decides not to cooperate, not to pull its weight.
God’s Spirit is urging us into really exciting ministry together, but it’s going to take all of us together to make it happen. It’s going to take all of us committing our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness to be together the vibrant Body that God is calling us to be.
We’re off to a great start, and I am proud as a peacock to be joining you in the adventure you’ve started. I hope you’re on board, and if you’re not yet, I pray you will be and I encourage you to pray and talk with me and other folk about the gifts you have to offer to Christ.
We’re going to do some amazing things, y’all! Jesus is going to bless this community through us in ways we’ve never seen before!
Come on, y’all! Get on board!