The Cabinet is in retreat this week. We call it a retreat basically because we are away at a location instead of at the ministry center and we wear casual clothes. Beyond that it’s long work days! We have a fall “retreat” in September every year because we don’t usually meet in the summer and there is always lots to do and lots to catch up on. It also gives us a chance to hear what’s happening in one another’s lives.
It’s that last part that I want to share about this week. This is my sixth year on the Cabinet which also means it’s my sixth year out of the local church. Being a pastor is who I am. It is who I am to the core of my being and while I really do love the ministry of District Superintendent, I miss sharing life with a congregation. I miss being a part of people’s lives on a week to week basis. I miss the kind of connection that happens in a Bible Study where questions are raised and new insight is gained and decisions made. I miss it all (well most of it anyway). And honestly from some of the stories I’ve heard about how Cabinets sometimes function, I know I would never make it in some of those settings.
But I am incredibly grateful for the people I get to work with on this Cabinet. I am incredibly grateful for the leadership of this amazing Bishop and our Clergy Assistant to the Bishop, John Boley. We are, the 15 of us, a deep community. We are a praying community. We are a loving community. And I am so honored to be a part of these wonderful servants of Christ and Christ’s church.
And as I sit here thinking about how blessed I am in this community, I can’t help but think about you and the churches of the Grand Rapids District. Friends my abiding prayer for you is that you are experiencing this same sense of joy and celebration in your Church community. I pray that as you work together in your community you are discovering − even in the work − a depth of relationship that is rich and life giving. I pray that as you leave a meeting about vision, or money, or what’s next for your congregation, you leave tired and weary having spent yourself in the task but joyful because you are in it together. I pray you leave feeling connected and engaged and while there is significant work ahead, and the road may not be smooth, you have your eyes on Christ and you find excitement in the fact that you are rowing the boat together.
I pray that your community of faith, be it big or small, rich or struggling financially, theologically to one end of the spectrum or the other, is a place where you know you are loved deeply by God and by those with whom you share the journey. I pray you know without a shadow of a doubt that while you may not always (or often) think alike, you have one another’s backs because you love, respect, and trust one another.
I am grateful, deeply grateful that I find that love, respect and trust on the Cabinet. I pray you are finding that too, and are building that in your Church.