One of the great joys in my life in recent days has been working with our incoming officers as they prepare for ordination and installation. We completed the second 3-hour session last night, and my heart overflows in admiration for what they are putting into their efforts.
I sometimes wonder if the congregation is aware of the commitment we seek from our officers. Those who will serve on our Session or Board of Deacons will give countless hours in preparation and even more hours in service over the next three years. We will ask them to serve among us with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love and to be spiritual leaders among us in every sense of those words. We will ask them to set aside some other things that have meaning in their lives to focus on this call for three years. We will ask them to be in worship regularly and to give generously and to serve with discipline and joy. It is a high calling with even higher expectations.
From all that I have seen to this point in their training, we have elected some wonderful people to serve as deacons and elders among us, and I am confident that they will not only meet but exceed the expectations of their offices.
So here’s my question: Will we honor the commitments that we will make as a congregation when they are installed? Together we will promise to encourage them, to respect their decisions, and to follow them as they guide us, serving Jesus Christ who alone is Head of the Church. Before that day, we are providing these newly elected officers resources and training for their service. We are feeding them amazing meals prepared by members of the congregation. We are praying for them and asking God to strengthen them for service. My hope is that we will continue to support our officers throughout their years of service so that they would sense with confidence that the God who calls them gives them everything they need for the tasks ahead.
As I told them last evening, they have my deepest admiration for answering God’s call and for working so hard in their study. May we as church members support them as they give themselves for the sake of the gospel.