Notes From the Pastor’s Study – December 8, 2020

            This week our Associate Pastor Search Committee is interviewing a couple of candidates for the position.  We appreciate your prayers as we work through the process.  If you see me showing a stranger around town, don’t hesitate to introduce yourself and put your best foot forward!
            Because we will have limited time with the candidates and the committee, we will NOT have our Mid-Week worship service this week (12/9).  Thank you for understanding. 
                Also, please take note of the following dates and activities as we end the year:
December 9 – No Mid-Week
December 13 – 8am Deacon Meeting, 9:30am Sunday School, 10:45a.m. Worship. 
December 20 – 9:30a.m. Sunday School, 10:45a.m. Worship (w/Lord’s Supper Celebration, 12:00p.m. Business Meeting
December 23 – Christmas Candle-light Service
December 27 – 9:30a.m. Sunday school, 10:45a.m. Worship, 12:00p.m. Up/Down vote on 2021 Budget. 
December 30 – No Mid-Week
December 31 – End of year financial gifts are due in the office before noon, or must be postmarked by December 31.
                Mat Kountz is one of the missionaries in Ecuador with whom our church as a relationship.  Several of you support him on a regular basis.  Mat needs our help.  He is working on a seminary project that is required to complete his degree.  He needs to teach a missions seminar to people over 18 who have been on a short-term mission trip, or who may go on one in the future; long-term missionaries; missions agency staff; or church staff.  The class will last about 6 hours.  Mat will fly up and meet with us on January 30 to teach the class in the fellowship hall.  The cost of the conference is free.  All we need to do is purchase the plane ticket to get Mat up here!  It will be great to see him again.  Hopefully he can stay and preach for us the next morning. 
                It is interesting to think about 2020 coming so quickly to an end.  This year has honestly seemed like it has lasted forever.  It is hard to remember what things were like before COVID-19.  The pandemic has been awful for so many reasons.   I haven’t had it yet, but we all know someone who had suffered from it, and we all seem to know someone who has passed away. 
                As we look forward to a new year and a vaccine on the way, I start to think about what I have learned during 2020, the year of COVID.  Maybe you have learned a few of these things too. 
                First, I have learned to be flexible.  I didn’t realize how set in my ways I was until I the pandemic took my normal routine away.  Now I truly do believe that we have all learned to bend so we don’t break, especially in the face of unusual circumstances.
                Second, I have learned to be patient with those with whom I disagree.  From the earliest days of this pandemic, I experienced the greatest difficulty in ministry dealing with the various opinions on the virus and the reaction to the virus.  As we have learned more about the virus, my opinion has probably changed three or four times about the severity of the crisis and the proper response.  I get tired of the restrictions and then find myself becoming concerned that we aren’t being careful enough.  All of this has taught me to be patient with the circumstance and the people who are thinking differently than me about it.  There is much room for grace and longsuffering in times like this.
                Third, I think I have learned to be innovative.  The parking lot service, different ways of doing indoor services, new ways to distribute the Lord’s Supper, new ways to give, and learning new technologies have required us all to be innovative.  
                I’ve become more realistic and accepting of my limitations.  Early on in the pandemic, I became rather panicked and thought that the survival of the church depended on me.  That was silly, or course, but I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.  I thought things would totally fall apart.  What I learned is that the survival of the church depends on Christ.  I only have so many hours in a day.  I have many tasks and duties that require my diligent attention.  I can’t read minds, I can’t please everybody, I can’t accomplish everything that I would like to do or that I need to do.  What I can do is be available when I am needed.  I can stop and take time when somebody needs to talk and pray.  I can be consistent and loving whenever I encounter someone.  However, it is important for us all to remember that we have to be realistic and live within our limitations.  That requires us to set aside our pride and acknowledge our failures, our helplessness, and our dependence on the Lord to do his work and to grow his people. 
                I hope next year looks quite different compared to this year.  I hope we have all learned something from 2020.  What has the Lord taught you, I’d love to know.  Email me, message me, call me and let’s talk about it! 

Love, Brother Chad!