"And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace."
At first glance, a member of Grace congregation might see this passage as the promise of God that the next pastor will be awesome! And, since God loves His people here at Grace, I am sure He has someone special with good gifts in mind to be pastor in the near future. However, this passage is a reference to the Messiah who would be born in Bethlehem - namely Jesus. And since Jesus has risen from the dead, He is the true Shepherd of Grace congregation. What is really happening now is that the Call Committee, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is leading us in the search for the next under-shepherd; someone God has in mind to lead us closer to the true Shepherd, Jesus.
If anyone needs more information on just how that process works, please feel free to talk to me. Or you can contact Lou Anne Hoffman for a copy of my SET - Self-Evaluation Tool - which all pastors must periodically file with the Texas District office. You will see the 36 questions that cover all sorts of ministry views and situations, and the Call Committee uses these documents and several others in the process of seeing which pastor may be the best fit for the needs of Grace. Please keep them in your prayers for discernment and wisdom. Thank you.
While that process is going on, God is still at work among us with His Word and Sacrament ministry, worship and study, fellowship and mutual care, guidance and direction, and more too. There is a good team of leaders, both Called and elected, in each area devoted to the tasks of continuing the wide varieties of ministries God uses at Grace to bless His people - and you are included in His blessings! He cares for each one of us, and for all of us together.
Grace congregation is in a transition. And God put us together at this time for His purposes. He is faithful to His promises to His people. We can count on Him to bring us to a good place in His time. I am thankful and thrilled to be the Vacancy Pastor here at Grace. Please keep me, and the rest of the Ministry Team (and all the other staff and leaders too) in your prayers as we work together doing God’s will at Grace Lutheran Church.
Blessings in the Savior,
Pastor Joe Ardy