The announcement was made recently at church that our pastor, James, was going to be leaving us. This was not due to any problems in the church nor was it requested by him. In fact, he has turned this offer down twice already. The church simply has need of his leadership talents elsewhere. Such is the nature of an itinerate system.
In thinking about this, I looked back at the relatively short history of our church. The founding pastor, Bob - a man with a calling to plant churches and the talents and charisma to get it done - got things rolling and up to speed. But God had other things for him to do and other churches for him to start.
We, however, needed to get some good roots going. God provided in the person of our second pastor, Jamie, who wasn't a visionary, but was a terrific nurturer. During those years, there was some growth but mainly there was solidification and strengthening of the existing church body which was much needed.
There was also, however, a bit of complacency about the future. People were somewhat content to remain a "wonderful little church in an old horse barn." It was quaint. It was warm. It was loving. But it was also getting stagnant. Then God sent James to give us the kick in the pants that we needed to get moving again.
And now that we are, He's doing wonderful things in and through our congregation.
So I look at this change with hope. I'm in no way glad to see James and Natalie go. They are wonderful people and I've been privileged to have them in my life for the past six years. But I'm also excited to see what God has in store for us next. He's always given us just the right person for our needs at that time and I trust Him to do the same now. Transitions are always hard but I have to keep in mind that I have no idea what the bigger picture looks like. I'm sure that, in the years to come, I'll look back on this as the moment when God sent just the right person at just the right time.