As I write this, I have just finished a wedding rehearsal and am preparing for Good Friday worship. Tomorrow night I will stand before a young couple in a moment of great hope as they express their vows, their promises to one another. I am well aware that they have little idea what it means to love one another in “sickness and in health.” I trust they will grow into that kind of compassionate love. And then Easter, a reminder of the hope I have in Jesus Christ, a hope which sustains me even now. On Monday, Jean and I are off to South Africa to see Scott and Shelton.
As I plan to leave I am mindful of the Body of Christ and the roles we all play in living as Christ’s presence. Fortunately, God has gifted us with so many dedicated and gifted saints, which leads me to share some important news with you. You recall that in January you approved recessing our Associate Pastor Nominating Team until early next year when we will be in a better position to discern whether we can afford a full time associate. We are monitoring our finances this year and hope all will join in supporting Covenant in our good work, both through our 2014 Mission Budget and our Building Fund. We also plan to explore alternative staff leadership models to see if we can better accomplish our plans with a new and different model. Let me report the first steps.
In conversation with Bryan Page and Chris Soto, we have expanded their responsibilities in important ways. Bryan will be sharing more fully in worship leadership; he will often lead Maranatha worship when Russ is away; he will share in hospital visitation two days a week, share in visiting our members who are confined to their homes and be available for emergency pastoral care in my absence. Chris will share more fully in worship; he will preach 2-3 times a year; he will share in hospital visitation two days a week, share in visiting members who are confined to their homes, and be available for emergency care in my absence. Each will receive extra remuneration in the form of a monthly bonus.
In addition, we are fortunate to have Rob Seitz as a Parish Associate. Rob is preaching two Sundays while I am gone. In addition he will be available to pastoral assistance when I am absent. Rob is an excellent communicator who has enriched us through the years.
Working with the Adult Discipleship Team we are considering potential part-time models, such as a pastor to help with small group ministry and pastoral care. We hope to have a decision made in June so that we can evaluate its effectiveness early next year.
Our decision regarding an associate pastor will be based on two things: l. our financial situation and 2. our evaluation of whether we can effectively carry forward Christ’s ministry with part time-staff as opposed to a full-time associate pastor. We always welcome your feedback as we continue this process.
As Jean and I enjoy fellowship with Shelton and Scott and another part of Christ’s Body in Africa, we will keep you in our hearts and prayers. Thank you for the honor of serving alongside you.
Blessings Upon You,