When I arrived at St. Luke’s, three months ago, I saw that the congregation had begun moving in a new direction already. After a major study by a special Faith Formation Team, the staff began focusing the congregation in the direction of study and prayer being fundamental parts of a growing faith on all levels and ages of the community.
The focus of the Transition Process, though centered on the eventual calling of a new senior pastor, is also grounded in prayer and study. The church council studied and prayed before choosing the first 45 names for consideration for the future Transition Team. After drawing up a shorter list of 25 from the longer one, the church council spent more time in study and prayer to discern the persons that would serve as the Transition Team. From that list, 15 names were then chosen, and the council spent more time praying over those names. Everyone who was asked to serve felt called to serve as a member of the team.
The Transition Team and the process that began in October was born through prayer and study. The team spent more time in study and prayer during its first meeting than on transition business. At the second meeting of the transition team, the members will accept a covenant that pledges each member to pray for the congregation, the mission of the transition team, and each other. Study and prayer will begin each meeting of the team.
As I said, prayer and study gave birth to the process, and prayer and study must continue as the primary function of the group. As much as this is important for the Transition Team, it is equally important for the congregation. All the members will have more than one opportunity to participate in this process, and our participation must also be grounded in prayer and study.
So let me challenge all of you today. Follow the request of the Transition Team: study with them, beginning with a reflection on Matthew 14:22-33. Read it daily, reflect on its meaning for you and St. Luke’s, ask the question, “what is God saying or doing in this text that I need to understand.” Then spend a few minutes each day praying for St. Luke’s, the Transition Team, the staff, and your commitment to the same.
Guided by prayer and study, two important practices that the Faith Formation Team has concluded are fundamental for the spiritual growth of our members, this process will end with the calling of a pastor that the Holy Spirit has brought to us. Only when our minds, hearts, and faith are open to what God is saying and doing in our midst will this surely happen. Thanks be to God!