A Pastor from Beverley, East Yorkshire, a membership of 155, deacons meetings agendas that include issues around the timing of Sunday evening services, provision for elderly members, the needs to engage with the local community in both mission and evangelism. Excitement about growth, questions about the suitability of the current building, the needs of young people rising up the agenda, and structures being changed to make the most of opportunities given to Tabernacle Baptist Church. Sounds familiar? This is us today.
But not just today.
I’ve had the pleasure of looking through some of our archived minutes today, and in 1952 this was a picture of where the church was at.
It’s a discovery that has had me smiling (what are the chances I’d not be the first pastor from Beverley here?), delighted there have been some great moves forward (a stipend of £350 wouldn’t quite work) and also questioning why we’re dealing with such similar issues today. Maybe it’s because every generation has to deal with these, maybe it’s because fifty-odd years later we’re still searching for the best answers.
Whatever the reason, it’s been a good reminder, at the end of my first sabbatical, that I stand in a long line of pastors, and hopefully (until Jesus returns) a long line to come. That’s humbling, and it’s reassuring. It’s not my job to build the church, it’s not my glory to take when things go well, it’s not my empire, it’s His kingdom.
So we’re going to spend some time over the next few months looking at the values of the Kingdom, making sure we’re keeping in step with the morality of the maker, we’re holding fast to the values of the victorious Christ.
I’d love to think that in 50 years time someone will read the minutes of our meetings with thankfulness, and I pray we’ll have sorted seniors ministry out by then!