Introducing Our Church Planting Pastor

As I announced on Sunday morning to our congregation, effective July 1, Greg Willson assumed a full-time pastoral staff position with the title of Church Planting Pastor. Recently God favored us with keeping Greg and Christina around for another year before they answer the call to help with a church plant in Columbia, South Carolina. We are grateful for the “reprieve” in his leaving as it works to our advantage in several ways.

Greg will continue his excellent work as our lead worshipper and shepherd of the young adult ministry. We don’t have to change horses in midstream during this critical year of getting into a building! In addition to those responsibilities, the remainder of his job description will revolve around executive pastor type functions as he oversees the coordination of all efforts related to transitioning into our new facility. We desperately need help on this front and Greg possesses the gifts and talents to help us immensely in this regard.

Another advantage to this arrangement is that we budgeted for the last half of 2011 for a new lead worshipper intern as well as a full-time associate staff person. By not needing to do the former and making Greg the latter through May of 2012, we came out ahead monetarily in terms of latitude in our budget. This too is a great blessing.

Greg and Christina still aim toward helping with the church plant in Columbia, but in the meantime we gain his services on our staff as he further prepares for that assignment on the job at OGC. Having him on board in this position also fits in with the “R” in our BRIDE acrostic – Reproducing Churches. We look forward to launching him out in the future, investing in him in the present, and tapping his gifts and ministry between now and next May, Lord willing. Pray for his fruitfulness in his work among us!

Nursery Numbers Gone Wild

They have. Last Sunday, twenty six little ones. And we haven’t even occupied a building yet.

Wonderfully scary to think what having our own place might mean for growth in our ministry in all kinds of areas, let alone this strategic one.

Our leadership team is working on the present challenge in this regard as well as thinking ahead to what the future might bring.

Mike and Peggy and Joyce, along with the help of a corps of other faithful volunteers have worked heroically over the years to serve our body in this area. Praise God for them! What a fabulous job they have been doing.

But truth is, things are getting a bit unmanageable. The leadership team decided some time ago to pursue hiring a paid nursery worker to serve on Sundays from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM to coordinate our team of volunteers week-in and week-out and to help us ensure the safety and excellent care of our little ones. All our attempts to acquire this person from outside the body, for various reasons, have not succeeded.

On Thursday night we agreed as a team to bring on, on an experimental basis for the next four months, someone from within our own body to attempt to address this area. Beginning tomorrow morning, Katie Fairey will assume the post. We praise God for her willingness. We will make every effort to make sure she gets to be in most of the service each week, but for set up, the 9:30 hour, drop off for and pick up after the service, and take down, she will be present in the nursery. Please pray for her and us as we give this strategy a shot and see how things work out.

One other item has come to our attention as we have sought to address this area of need in our ministry. The load of care is falling on too few servants. Some simply aren’t willing to serve. Others call at the last minute or fail to show up as scheduled at all.

Please, I beg of you, dear sisters in Christ, for the sake of the gospel, the love of Christ’s family and the care of our little ones, let’s rally around Katie and one another and do better in this regard. I realize it isn’t everyone’s favorite ministry and nobody wants to miss the service. But if everyone pitches in no one has to serve more than once every six weeks or even more. And I see that the message of the day gets posted on the website that very afternoon so folks don’t have to miss the feeding of God’s word.

If the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these, let us show our affirmation of that by working together to have the best of all possible nursery environments for our children of today and tomorrow.