My favorite cartoon from an old "Leadership Magazine” has the preacher going to be hung. The congregation is beneath the gallows watching, and the caption has one person saying to another, “I told him not to change the order of service.” This is the risk we take as Transitional Pastors. There will be push back and yes, some will abandon the church. Agents of hope are risk takers to lead the people where they really want to go. The former hall of fame NFL coach, Tom Landry, established the goal for change. He stated, “Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they always wanted to achieve.” Deep down, inside their spirit, they want their church to live and thrive, however; they are clinging to ‘the way it was,’ or ‘we have never done it that way before.’ Thus, the church and the members find themselves in a hopeless state.
Without hope, people wither, communities erode, and churches die. Three of the four pre-retirement churches I served had a “I hope so” attitude. However, the three post-retirement churches, Transitional Pastor churches, they were drowning in hopelessness. Biblical hope and worldly hope are like light and darkness. Darkness is just the absences of light. Worldly hope is devoid of biblical hope. People, communities, and churches have a deficiency of biblical hope. Psalm 71:5, For you, my Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord from my youth is absent from these three entities.
Sadly, biblical hope (elpis) has been replaced by phrases like, “I hope so,” “I wish it would,” “keep your fingers crossed,” or “if you are lucky.” No, hope Scripturally is a “certainty,” or a “guarantee.” Hope is a desire of a future good with the anticipation that it will come to fruition. Hope is to the soul as air is to the lungs. Lamentations 3:24. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
Due to hope being reignited, Amissville Baptist has a bright future. A rekindled hope has allowed the revisioning of the future, a reworking of the organization, and a renewing of relationships. In other words, a holy fire has been started to advance the God’s kingdom. Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Seeing life through the lens of hope, convinces a church that there is a future.
This month ABC’s hope will blaze as the body of Christ considers the call of their next pastor. Peter and April Witkowski is the family that the Lord has led the Pastor Search Committee to be considered as the church’s next Pastor family. Peter’s resume is available to you at the church and on the church’s website. The way you have adapted to change and the calling of a new pastor, both creates a season of great joy. Biblical hope always creates a joyful spirit. As you prayerfully consider calling the Witkowski family, know they come as humble servants to lead ABC. During the dedication of Jerusalem’s wall there was far reaching joy, And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away (Nehemiah 12:43c). The glory of God working in a life or a church is heard throughout a community. May this community hear of the joy that emanates from ABC’s body of believers who walk in grace and oneness. May the surrounding areas of ABC hear of your joy as you consider calling the Witkowski family.