“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 (NIV)
If you have ever walked or run a long distance, you will know from experience the importance of a good set of footwear. Even more so, how essential it is that the shoe fits! A poor fit will be uncomfortable, and will eventually result in so much pain that you are forced to either replace the shoe, or quit running altogether.
One of the habits I picked up in the Army was running. I no longer run as fast as I once did, but I still try to cover at least 25 km every week. Consequently, I wear out a pair of shoes in six or seven months. Finding a replacement shoe is always a challenge as, after six months, the same style is usually no longer available. So it’s a marathon session at the store, trying on many pairs, running up and down the aisles. Eventually I narrow my choice to two or three pairs and take them for a longer spin around the whole store until finally finding the one with the best fit.
Finding a new minister is a similar process, only I imagine that we are the shoe and the prospective minister is the foot.
Our search, which began back in December, is now nearing completion. In the past six months, your Search Team has formed, analysed the congregational survey – in which everyone had the opportunity to participate – and created our profile, which was then posted to the Presbyterian Church website. From the time of posting until the application period closed on April 10th we have received and reviewed a total of fifteen applications.
Using the profile and position description as our temporal bench-mark and with a lot of prayer – listening carefully to how God was speaking to our hearts – we carefully reviewed each application looking for the best fit. While all the applicants were capable, not all were a good fit for Grace Church.
On April 20th, we met with Session and briefed them on the process to date and presented, what the Presbyterian Church calls, our “Leet of Three.” (True to our roots, the word “leet” is a Scottish term for a list of potential candidates for a position.)
The next step is absolutely critical. In early May, we will meet with each of the three candidates and through a face-to-face interview we will aim to find the absolute best fit in a Minister; one we will call to lead us to become the church God wants us to be; one that we will call to encourage us to carry the Gospel into the Mission Field of Orleans and beyond; and one that will do so successfully because the fit with the congregation is good.
As we approach the end of this particular run, you will want to mark your calendars with two very important dates.
The first is the weekend of 24-25 May. There will be a meet and greet on the Saturday evening and on Sunday, the selected minister will “preach for the call.” Following this service every member will be asked to vote on whether this individual is to be called to become the new Pastor at Grace. If you are a member, it is vital to the future of the congregation that you participate in this service. If you are an adherent, you will be given the opportunity to “attest” to the call – not quite the same as a vote, but close.
The second date, Sunday, September 15th is the date currently scheduled as the Induction Service for our new minister. You certainly won’t want to miss that either.
In January’s article, we shared scripture from Isaiah that said, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”” Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)
It is so exciting to be on the verge of running a new race. We are about to slip a new pair of feet into the shoes that are Grace Church. These feet will lead us on what can be an exciting marathon of spreading the Gospel, building God’s Kingdom here on earth and telling the world that our God reigns!
Is anyone up for a race? Come on, let’s go for a run!