In a couple of months the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will send a new pastor to the Mason UMC. That’s how it works in the UMC. Churches don’t hire their own pastor, but pastors are sent to the church. There are advantages and disadvantage to any system. Ours is what it is and today’s blog is not about debating this. They will be sending Diane and me to another church.
Yesterday we announced the name of the pastor who will be leading the Mason UMC for the foreseeable future. We spent the first 15 minutes of our time together yesterday talking about the new pastor and his family. The congregation has been waiting for six weeks to find out who their new pastor would be so many people were anxious to hear. When I told someone how church went yesterday I said, “We spent the first fifteen minutes talking about the new pastor and then we said a prayer of repentance that we had made our time together about anything but Jesus.”
I can see where talking about the new pastor was necessary and could even be a way to glorify Jesus. But let’s be honest. Most people want to know primarily because they are anxious about how it will impact them. Diane and I want to know about the church we’re going to primarily because we want to know what it means to us personally. A better viewpoint would be wanting to know what the new church is like to know how we will do ministry and glorify Jesus. The reason to be inquisitive about who the new pastor is to know what it will mean to the Jesus glorifying ministry of the Mason UMC. It’s not simply about the incoming pastor or the outgoing pastor, it’s about Jesus. Yet we can be honoring and focusing on Jesus when we flood the new pastor and his family with cards. I guess ‘motive’ is the bottom line. So that when we talk about the new pastor, when students study in school, when you go to work, when you eat at Outback Steakhouse, when you go on a mission trip, when you send a birthday greeting, when you make a Facebook post or share a video, when you honor your spouse…. Whatever we do, we do in the Name of Jesus for His glory.
Maybe it wasn’t so wrong to talk about the new pastor for 15 minutes at the beginning of worship. It just depends upon our motive.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:17