Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
The surprise of Joshua’s announcement that he had accepted a call to another church was bound to trigger a number of emotions in many of us. The staff had seemed to fall into exactly the condition we had all hoped for several years ago: two excellent assistant pastors, a deep ministry “bench” at New Life and good preliminary preparations for Ron’s successor as he looks to retirement in the summer of 2017. But the Lord has different purposes for us it seems.
We send Joshua away sadly, feeling we wish it could have been longer, but with our blessings. We’ve appreciated his ministry among us. Our home groups and discipling ministry have multiplied even in this short time. We’re thankful for his opportunity to do ministry in a church with outreach to a college-age population closer to his and Katie’s family. And we rejoice that they are looking forward to a new challenge of ministry even while they miss their relationships here.
So what do we do now? The Session has decided a number of things. We believe God’s good purposes for New Life will still stand even if the shape may look different. We’ve re-affirmed the date of Ron’s retirement timeline. We hope to have gathered a search team for a new lead pastor by the fall for the church to vote on. We also have urged Ron to continue with his plans for a sabbatical and vacation this summer. By the end of June, interim plans will be announced to care for Joshua’s responsibilities at least until the end of the year. Seeking the Lord’s wisdom, we plan to keep moving forward.
“Moving forward” will be very concrete this summer as the current stage of the auditorium transforms character. A committee has been working for months to redesign the setting of our worship to more deeply engage our hearts and minds as we come before the Lord each Sunday. We had a brief projection of what it might look like, including a cross in the center of a wood background with two projection screens located on the sides for singing and scripture words. A generous gift helped pay for this, and reminds us again that our purpose is to glorify Him while He works out His purposes for the Kingdom.