Transition for our church; Truth for our church (pt.2)

You can read my initial thoughts on this transition process for Calvary Baptist Church here.  We are excited to see God working in our Senior Pastor’s life as he prepares to transition to new ministry and we are excited in anticipation about what God has planned for our church in the months ahead.

I was reading Joshua 1 this morning in my personal study and some thoughts came to mind about our transition.  Joshua 1 is a transitional passage, as it deals with leadership change, new direction for the nation of Israel and God’s requirements for success in these new endeavors.  Below are verses 1-9 (very familiar, but please read them):

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant,  2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.  3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.  4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory.  5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.  6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.  7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.  8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Here are some quick points to keep in mind over the next several months of this year of transition:

  • When leaders transition, things just change. (v.1-2)
    • In the book of Joshua leadership changed due to Moses’ death.  In our church it is a mutual transition of Pastor Rick going to new ministry and current leadership (pastors, board, etc) determining direction.
    • While Pastor Rick has built, through God’s grace, a wonderful foundation over the past 25+ years, it is most probable that things will begin to slowly look different due to new focuses, intensities and direction.
    • This is not a bad thing.  Godly change should be embraced and passionately pursued.  By doing this, we do not discount those who have led before us, but gratefully “stand on their shoulders” as we focus on what God has for us.
  • Just because things change doesn’t mean that God is any less in control. (v.3-5)
    • It is easy for us to get caught up in the unknown and in anxiety and worry, fret about the future.
    • I think this may be why God referenced His presence with Moses to Joshua: Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.  I will never leave you or forsake you.
    • It helps to have a healthy (godly) view of God’s Sovereignty.  This transition didn’t take God by surprise.  In fact, He orchestrated it!!  Praise Him!  He has, in His wisdom, seen fit to move current leadership around, for His glory, and allow our church to experience this transition.  He is in control!  He has not left us, nor will He forsake us!
  • It is imperative for new leadership to lead by example. (v.6)
    • I know there is a lot of questions about the future leadership.  These questions are just beginning to be assessed and addressed.  I can assure you, our congregation, that you will be asked for input and we will be communicating the process to you on a regular basis.  We have made this a paramount priority.
    • “New” leadership must be willing to not only proclaim Truth, but they must demonstrate Truth in daily living.  They will face uncertainty, just like the rest of our local body.  They must proclaim trust in God’s direction, and then live confidently in that trust.
    • The integrity of leadership does affect the congregation.  God commands Joshua to be strong and very courageous…why?  Not so that he could demonstrate great leadership skills, but for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers. If leadership fails to live in the integrity of the Truth, the congregation will suffer.
  • Obedience to the Word, both in leadership & our congregation, will ensure that we “Grow God’s Way“. (v.7)
    • God demands careful obedience – He always has.  He is not interested in haphazard “christian” living.
    • Only “careful” obedience – obedience that does not deviate from Truth (do not turn from it) will result in growing God’s way (that you may have good success where you go).
    • Half-hearted pursuit of Truth is not what we as a local church need right now.  We need passionate and full adherence to God’s Word in every area of life!  Please, with me, examine our hearts and repent of wrong-doing and renew our commitment to living a life of righteousness!
  • We can only obey fully what we know intimately. (v.8)
    • Careful obedience requires that I know what God’s Word says.  All these “rants” seem to come down to the same thing, don’t they?  Spiritual Disciplines – how are you doing in your personal study of the Word, prayer, church involvement, discipleship of self and others, etc?
    • If we do not let Truth depart from our mouths and meditate on it day & night then we will see God work in our lives, and in our church, in amazing ways!
  • Transition should be met boldly, with full confidence in the Lord we serve. (v.9)
    • So, Calvary Baptist Church, Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
    • Those are comforting words aren’t they?  The knowledge that the Sovereign and All-powerful Lord is with us in this transition allows us the confidence to boldly move forward and seek His will.

As God allows, I will be posting regularly on transitional thoughts for Calvary.  I would appreciate any input that you have concerning these posts.  God bless!

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