On November 20th, in light of Ken being installed as the new pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Dick Redding gave the following charge to the congregation.
On behalf of the pastoral nominating committee and the congregation, thanks be to God for Ken answering our call to be our senior pastor. So, what is our responsibility, as a congregation in this partnership with our new pastor? It is a partnership, right? Together, we can be a very powerful force for Christ, as we discern what the Holy Spirit has in mind for Westminster Presbyterian Church today and beyond.
The Book of Order describes Christ’s ministry and this relationship in the following way: pastors and people share in the ministry/mission of the church together complementing/completing one another under the one and same mandate of Christ. Ministry is not just for ministers.
First, a few dos and don’ts for us the congregation. Ken is a faithful Shepherd to this flock, but it is a large flock, with a lot of personalities. Do be patient with him and don’t be offended if he doesn’t return a phone call or email right away. Trust me and remember, that he cares deeply for each of us. Do be direct and clear in your communication with others and particularly when there are differences, speak your truth, leading with love. Do be mindful of Ken’s priorities beyond this congregation. His first allegiance is to God. His second allegiance is to Heather and his family in Oregon. Do respect the time that he sets aside for family. Remember, Ken’s day off is Monday. Do honor his time to recharge and be with family. Refrain from reaching out to Ken on Mondays.
Do allow Ken the flexibility to take us out of our comfort zone. That may create the best place for a growth opportunity in stretching our faith. Do be open to change.
I challenge myself, and all of you to willfully and joyfully share your gifts with this church and community in our ministry together. Do revisit your calling as disciples. Take a step towards serving others in the name of Christ, not only in this place on Sunday, but out in the world during the week as well. Do listen for the Holy Spirit to move you into action.
Several years ago, I was the overnight congregation representative for PACEM. One of our guests that evening, a fellow the men referred to as Doc, had a medical emergency. The rescue squad was called, but they were unsuccessful in reviving him. A few days later, the pastor called me to be sure I was OK. I said yes, “I’m fine, but it would have been nice if a minister had come over that night to pray with the men.” In looking back, I realized I had missed an opportunity to do more to serve and comfort that evening. I should’ve been the one empowered to lead the men in prayer. Ministry is not just for ministers. Why not me Lord?
To illustrate my point further, I know many of you have seen Ken juggle. For those of you who haven’t, trust me, he’s a really good juggler. Imagine that each ball that he juggles with represent one of his spiritual gifts of ministry. So, close your eyes for a minute, as we explore this thought. Now, let’s imagine that the back of the sanctuary is glassed in and completely transparent. Next envision Ken juggling away here behind the pulpit. Imagine people walking or driving down Rugby Road by the glassed in sanctuary. A passerby might peek in and say “man that guys a good juggler, but he seems all alone in what he is doing among that big crowd, and they don’t seem to be reacting to it, maybe it’s not that big of a deal.” Now think about your God given gifts being represented by a ball in your hand. Imagine that you start flipping your sphere in the air, along with the rest of the congregation. Those walking by take another look, and Ken is juggling away, joined by you folks in the pews, tossing your balls in the air as well. It’s a sea of motion and energy as the balls go round and round. Now the people on the street exclaim, “wow, that looks amazing, let’s go in there and see what this is all about!
So, do take the ball, your gifts, out of your pocket, and share it with the world joyfully and toss it together with Ken. The Spirit is there to encourage us. With all our oars in the water at once, we can be a powerful force for Christ. And let’s be sure we keep our ball out of our pockets and visible when we leave here today.
Come ye faithful people, come. Do pray for Ken and our other pastors, Lynne and Tracy. Do pray for this new partnership of ministry with Ken and go forth with confidence that the Holy Spirit is guiding us in our ministry together in a way that is pleasing to God.