The True Colors of the Church
The true colors of the church ... including a church in particular ... don't show up so much when attendance and offerings are up. When things are going swell. No, they're more apt to show forth when times get tougher. When change occurs. When the future becomes less predictable; predictable in our minds, at least.
When the status becomes less quo, so to speak.
FBC Pelham is facing such a time right now. I'm trusting all is and will be well.
Last Sunday was the last sermon Dr. Michael E. Shaw will ever preach as the Pastor of FBC of Pelham. He's retiring as of month's end, after 35 years as our Pastor.
Peg and I have been there for 33 of those 35, by the way.
The "success" of the church in persisting in its duties and its calling during the coming months while we experience well-qualified preachers bringing God's word as "pulpit supply" for a time, followed by leadership by an excellent interim pastor, will depend on the church itself. The people called to the assembly.
1 Corinthians 12 has a lot to say about this. We are a body, assembled with people God has placed in our midst, each one gifted to the task God has in mind for them. What happens over the next few months as our Pastor Search Committee labors to connect with God's man for our pulpit, will depend on how faithful our membership is to fulfill its God-ordained responsibilities.
I've always found it funny ... what the Bible mentions as the first "Spiritual Gift". It's not what I would have expected. As Exodus 31 says: "Then the Lord said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled Him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts....."".
Hmmm .. arts & crafts, a Spiritual Gift? Makes sense to me if you consider the task of the "church" at that time ... to build the Tabernacle. All those skills would be needed. So I am confident that whatever our church needs to prosper Spiritually during this time of new directions has already been lavished on the people who fill our pews. It's up to each of us to see that the work of our assembly continues uninterrupted. And even to prosper.
Incidentally, I refer to Bro. Mike as our pastor. Not Lead Pastor, Senior Pastor, or anything of the sort. As my best friend once said, a church has one pastor. Everybody from the oldest to the youngest should know "He's my pastor....".
I look forward to FBC's next pastor. Here's hoping we'll be ready for him.