Thursday, February 12, 2009

This New Life

Though I started in the office on Monday, my first official function as pastor of Bretton Woods Covenant Church was attending the Covenant Midwinter Conference, the annual denominational gathering of the pastors and missionaries of the Evangelical Covenant Church. It is difficult to describe how it felt to walk around with a nametag that read "Bretton Woods Covenant Church, Lansing, MI." It was great to sit once more under the teachings of my former professor, Klyne Snodgrass, to participate in workshops with John Wenrich, Al Tizon and Wayne Gordon, and to hear a powerful message from Gary Haugen. It was an invigorating experience, yet a bit of a whirlwind. I was reminded again and again of the centrality of the word of God, a truth that comes alive as I sit in the office this week preparing to proclaim the word.

So beginning in my first call to pastoral ministry is like settling into a new life. It's a life God and I have been preparing for a long time, but it is now a reality. This feels like a transition from 'student' to 'pastor', but I know I won't be a very good pastor unless I remain a student. I am a student of Scripture, a student of peoples' lives, a student of the city of Lansing, etc. There's something to all that 'lifelong learning' talk I've heard.

Though it is only my fourth day, I have to say I am encouraged. I am excited about the ministry at Bretton Woods, and I love all it entails: visiting the sick, crafting sermons, envisioning God's ministry for the church, and loving people from all different walks of life who are united in the power of the gospel.

I know there will be less encouraging times when I'll have to recall this vitality, when I'll struggle to believe it. But I thank God for this day, and for all the wonderful people who've made these first stages of transition so smooth.

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