Thoughts about what lies ahead
As I contemplate the next three months, my last semester here at Sangre de Cristo Seminary, and the prospects of a new and exciting ministry in Meadville, PA, I have resumed the process I started some time ago of looking at where I am now. What I mean by that is this: I am appraising areas where I need to improve for the sake of the kingdom of God and the ministry that lies ahead. My whole purpose for returning to seminary was that I recognized the need to better equip myself for the Lord’s work. I could have stayed where I was, pastoring in a city that needed and still needs the gospel, but I realized by finishing my seminary degree I would be doing a greater good in the grand scheme of things. I have no regrets, and know beyond a doubt if faced with the decision again, I would not change a thing.
These are some of the areas I am working to improve myself: First of all, I am working harder at Scripture memory. In Philippians 3:7-15, the apostle Paul has just listed his accomplishments in life providing a synopsis of his resume which would be very impressive to most people. But in this passage he expresses an attitude that all of those things are meaningless compared to the knowledge of Christ. I want to know Christ better…and the only way I know how to do that is to know His word better.
Secondly, I am trying to get back in good physical condition. While I have been blessed with good health, I am also aware that I am not getting any younger. Paul described the kingdom work with words like “struggle” and “fight,” and even relating it to “boxing” or “running a race.” A group of people have expressed a certain degree of confidence and hope in me to shepherd them and minister the gospel in their community. To borrow the Army slogan, I want to “be all that I can be” for the sake of Christ first and also for them. That will mean that I will need all the stamina and strength I can muster, and so I have been working at physical conditioning and eating better…in short, being more disciplined for Christ and His kingdom.
Thirdly, I am constantly researching my ministry field, trying to learn more about the community and its resources, strengths, weaknesses, and needs. I read the local newspaper and look at local websites for any information that may help me prepare for ministry. I look forward to getting to know the congregation and sharing in their lives, hopes, joys and sorrows. I also look forward to meeting the various pastors and hope to build lasting relationships with them in the spread of the gospel, and I look forward to their fellowship. I am prayerfully seeking the Lord for wisdom and vision for St. Paul’s and while I know that will become more apparent when we arrive in Meadville, the Lord can start preparing me for what lies ahead. I have placed the picture of St. Paul’s sanctuary on my desktop at work and my laptop at home to continually remind me to pray for God’s people there. I know they have been praying for us and have the same desire to see God work in a wonderful way in their church and community. Lord willing, our first Sunday there will be September 9th.
We are trusting that the Lord will direct us to a two or three bedroom house we can rent and be comfortable in. So if you are in Meadville and know anyone with a house to rent that will allow us to have our golden retriever, Angel, please let us know!