E-pistle May 15

An Emerging Ministry
Becky and I are making a quick trip to South Bend, Indiana, this weekend as we celebrate our son Christopher’s graduation from graduate school at Notre Dame.  Pastoral Assistant Jonathan LaBarge will be leading worship in my absence. 
Jonathan has now finished his second week as full-time Pastoral Assistant, having served with his wife Kristy as one of our seminary interns this past academic year.  So other than filling the pulpit occasionally, what will Jonathan being doing during the eight months he plans to be with us?  Great question, those of you who have asked it! 
And the answer is, “Hmm, let’s see…”  But said with a great deal of certainty!
About a third of Jonathan’s time will be devoted to providing leadership for the contemporary worship service.  This will be a continuation of his intern responsibilities, but with more time available for crafting each service, working with our amazing worship team and helping the Contemporary Worship Sub-Committee envision God’s direction and purpose for the service.  I expect some great things – a CWS planning/dreaming retreat is already planned for May 30.
A lesser number of Jonathan’s weekly hours will be given over to general pastoral duties, including pastoral calls, especially hospital calling when I am not available, occasional preaching and teaching, 8:30 and 9:45 worship assistance and staffing a committee or two. 
The balance of Jonathan’s time will be devoted to that “let’s see” category.  We are being quite deliberate in assigning Jonathan the task of working very hard to help develop some next steps and new steps in our response to God’s call and claim on our life together.  Specifically, we will be looking for ways that we can better connect with one another and to our community as we live out our commission to be a lighthouse people, a representation of the Kingdom among ourselves and to world outside our doors.  Might that be new programming or outreach, small groups or support structures, discipleship and nurture opportunities?  Hmm, let’s see.  Let’s see what God is up to and the ways that he will use Jonathan’s time with us to clarify our vision. 
A more personal observation is that I am overjoyed with Jonathan’s presence on the staff for this season.  He’s a wonderful pastoral colleague and a great addition to our staff team.  Please, take some time to get to know Jonathan and Kristy if you don’t already.  Hmm, let’s see; I’m pretty sure you’ll find knowing them to be a blessing.
I won’t see you Sunday, but will be back in the office Monday morning.