From the Pastor’s Heart
I am happy to report that the congregation has come together on a plan forward. After a time of considering various options including disbanding the congregation, in a recent congregational meeting there was unanimous affirmation to not only continue but to also affirm a recommendation that Pastor Jon serve as the pastor. Pastor Kenton asked me to announce that he would begin sometime around the first of the year. While it became pretty clear that continuing in the present situation was not really a viable option, the new vision that might be required was less clear. In talking with Pastor Jon, it seems the Lord is giving him a vision for the congregation that seems to be in line with the words that God has been speaking as the congregation has been praying and seeking direction for the future.
I think it is safe to say that the Lord may actually want to do a new thing. Sometimes in order for the new to come forth the old has to die. Perhaps now is the time to recognize that reality as we turn our attention toward the future. We should probably keep in mind that while the foundational beliefs will continue, the way it is applied, worked out, and expressed may look and feel a little different. When we are raised from the dead, the Bible says our new body will not look like the old body. Likewise the new church body may not look exactly like the old church body. At this point it may look and feel very much like starting over. We have two more weeks in our emotionally healthy study. Once that is concluded the slate will be pretty well cleared for the new start. We will have about six weeks to work at transition issues, celebrate advent and Christmas and prepare for the new year.
One difference that will be noticed immediately has to do with the pastoral leadership. Pastor Jon will actually be leading two congregations at the same time having just recently begun the process of planting a congregation in Charlottesville. Some might wonder how that can work. It reminds me of one of my own pastorates where I had two congregations. It was called a two point charge, one charge but two congregations. I preached at each church every Sunday morning. While I preached at one church the other church had Sunday School. There were a few challenges that went along with that but overall it worked out very well. We did that for four and a half years while attending college and seminary and still look back on that as one of our most enjoyable times in pastoral ministry.
At this point the congregation here at Crozet meets at 10:00 on Sunday mornings while the congregation in Charlottesville meets at 4:00 in the afternoon. So that won’t be a problem. In addition to pastoring both congregations part time Pastor Jon will also continue to serve part time as leader of the Charlottesville House of Prayer. In light of the church and prayer ministry in Charlottesville he has already cut back his hours at the hospital. In adding the Crozet congregation he will need to further reduce his hours. One reason for waiting until the first of he year to start here at Crozet is that he is committed to his present schedule at the hospital until then. Of course the goal is that as the congregations grow he will be able to quit his job at the hospital altogether and devote full time to ministry.
Thank you for supporting and participating in the congregation over the last ten months without a full time pastor. I especially appreciate your support and participating during the four months I have served as the interim pastor. We look forward to the next two months as a time of closing out this season in preparation for a new one.