The scripture reading for today is I Timothy 5:17-25.
“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; for the scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves to be paid." Never accept any accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, I warn you to keep these instructions without prejudice, doing nothing on the basis of partiality. Do not ordain anyone hastily, and do not participate in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. The sins of some people are conspicuous and precede them to judgment, while the sins of others follow them there. So also good works are conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden.”
These verses are timely! These words from Paul’s letter to Timothy deal with the topic of leadership in the early church. Right now Living Lord is also dealing with the topic of leadership as it seeks to call first a new senior pastor and then a new associate pastor. The details of the leadership positions differ between then and now, but the main themes are similar:
- Leaders in the church are held to a high standard of behavior.
- Leaders deserve honor for preaching and teaching the Word of God
- Take your time in selecting leaders. Don’t be hasty.
During my time with you, I know that the Holy Spirit has been preparing the people of Living Lord to call a new senior pastor - and I trust that God is already preparing the heart of a pastor to receive and accept that call. My goal has been the same as yours: to help you call the best pastor possible. As you continue in this process, please prayerfully keep in mind these words which are part of the Letter of Call for every ELCA pastor:
“We call you to exercise among us the ministry of Word and Sacrament which God has established and which the Holy Spirit empowers:
+ to preach and teach the Word of God in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions;
+ to administer Holy Baptism and Holy Communion;
+ to lead us in worship;
+ to proclaim the forgiveness of sins;
+ to provide pastoral care;
+ to speak for justice in behalf of the poor and oppressed;
+ to encourage persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel;
+ to impart knowledge of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its wider ministry;
+ to endeavor to increase support given by our congregation to the work of our whole church;
+ to equip us for witness and service; and guide us in proclaiming God’s love through word and deed.
In accepting this call, you hereby promise to fulfill this pastoral ministry in accord with the standards and policies for ordained ministers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Therefore, be diligent in the study of Holy Scripture, in use of the means of grace, in prayer, in faithful service, and in holy living. With this call, we pledge our prayers, love, esteem, and personal support for the sake of the ministry entrusted to you by God and for our ministry together in Christ’s name. “
God, help us prepare to welcome a new senior pastor.
Pastor Lanny Westphal
Prayer Concern: The call process at Living Lord.