Word of the Week

Full-Time Pastor

It is a New Year and also a new day for pastoral ministry at Washington Plaza Baptist Church.

Beginning on January 1, 2010, Washington Plaza has employed a full-time pastor.

Faithful blog readers you may not have known (or even some loyal attendees of the church for that matter) that when I signed on to be pastor of Washington Plaza by call in November of 2008, I was only contracted for 30 hours a week.  This arrangement came about as part of the financial and membership situation of the church at the time of my call. The amount they could afford to pay a pastor was not equal to what would be fair for full-time work. So, the church and I took a step of faith together beginning at a point that neither of us wanted long-term, but a step that we hoped would get us both moving in the right direction.

And, this year has been a very good year of moving in the right direction.

Coming sooner than I actually thought, the personnel and finance committee decided that they wanted to re-extend my call  in 2010 to be congruent to full-time status including medical benefits (that I was not receiving last year).

Kevin and I are thrilled for this next step of faith we are taking together and not merely because of the financial details.

This is a HUGE moment for the church to celebrate. It is moment for us to see the faithfulness of God in our midst. It is a moment to remember that God has big plans for us and that we are on our way to meeting them together, even now. 

Not every church recognizes (as Washington Plaza has done) the importance of pastoral ministry in the growth of church life. It is a jewel to have found a church that seeks to take care of its pastor. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

So, several in the congregation have asked, "What will change now that you are 'officially' full-time?"

To which I and several members of the pastoral relations committee have answered: "Not much."

You see, the fact is there really is no such thing as a "part-time pastor." If I get a call that you or one of your loved ones is sick or in a crisis, I haven't (nor I won't) say: "I can't talk to you right now" or "I won't call you back today on my day off" because it is my calling to care for those entrusted to my care.  

Furthermore, I knew that when I took the position on that there would be MUCH work to do in so many areas. To grow a thriving community of faith, with an emphasis on membership and momentum, I would need to put in extra time and elbow grease to get the job down well.

The truth is that I have been working full-time all along. I just couldn't help myself. I enjoy what I am doing and I love seeing the fruits of our work together.

So, what might change?

You might see me in the office longer on the days I'm in Reston (Sunday- Wednesday). You might see me teaching more Bible Studies and special classes. You might see me working on new special projects.

But, other than this, I'll be plugging away just like last year. Hoping that if you need to find me, you'll shoot me an email or call my cell phone so we can make a time to get together for some uninterrupted time (for we may not get this if you just drop by the office). Remember that my work is not always found in the church office. I'm out and about in the community being with people, representing you at functions and seeking to discern through study what God would have me to say to you on Sunday mornings.

I look forward to the New Year as your full-time pastor. God has been good and continues to exceed all my expectations of how much I enjoy being with you!