Summary: A charge to the church as they install a new pastor in 2013
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
A Charge to the Church
You have called Dr Chet Haney to be your pastor/teacher at Highland Terrace Baptist Church. (See Ephesians 4:11) He is not a hireling who will run at the first sign of trouble. (See John 10:12-13) Nor is he a doormat for you to wipe your feet on when you disagree with him. Neither is he the main course or “pot-roast” for Sunday lunch after church. He has been called by God and recognized by you, the congregation, to be your under-shepherd. Make it a wonderful journey of joy and not sorrow in his being your pastor. (See Hebrews 13:17) After all, he has a high calling from God to lead you and to love you; and an even greater accountability for his service here to our Savior in the Day he stands before Christ.
So, then, what are your responsibilities? What should you do in making it a joyful time here for Bro Chet and his family? I believe you have a three fold purpose in supporting your new Pastor.
First, the most important task you have as a church body is to PRAY daily, both individually and collectively, for Bro Chet, his family and your church staff. Satan is having a field day destroying the lives and ministry of pastors and their families. Your pastor and his wife are under constant attack. The attacks are relentless and at times, quite unexpected. They will come from some “professed” believers as well as unbelievers. His integrity and credibility are magnified under a microscope in a community which, for the most part, does not recognize or know Jesus Christ. There are those who rejoice every time a follower of Jesus Christ, especially a pastor, falls ethically or morally. Your pastor and his family live in a glass house. They covet your prayers. They need your prayers.
I challenge you to pray for Bro Chet and Terri on a daily basis asking God to give him wisdom and to protect them both as they faithfully serve our Savior.
Second, you must be PATIENT with Bro Chet. He is stepping into a flawed church. We are all flawed people. (See Romans 3:23) The church is made up of sick and defective people who seek the Great Physician. I promise you that he will faithfully preach God’s Word and love you as God’s under-shepherd. It will take time for him to learn all of your names, the City of Greenville and your idiosyncrasies. It will take time for you to appreciate his leadership, his humor and his faithfulness to God. Put yourself in his place as he tries to memorize hundreds of names…especially, at his age!
I challenge you to pray for Bro Chet and Terri and be patient as he leads lost and broken people to our risen Savior.
And finally, you must PARTICIPATE alongside your pastor. He and the staff cannot do it alone. You did not call him to do your job. You did not call him to do your ministry. You called him to pray for you, to equip you and to lead you in carrying out the Great Commission given to all believers. Your faithful participation does two things. First, it reveals your support of the pastor, the Search Committee and the direction God is leading this church. Second, it’s both an affirmation and encouragement to your new pastor that you recognize that God is in this calling.
Now, I know Bro Chet. I know he will seek God’s direction for Highland Terrace Baptist Church. I know he will be faithful in his responsibilities. It may not be what is best for you or him but it will be what is best for the Kingdom of God; and it will glorify God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. It will be God Who, through Chet, will inspire and instill a new vision for Highland Terrace Baptist Church to follow. As he leads this church toward even greater days than its past glory, be an active participant in following Christ. You were not created to be spectators but contestants in running the race to obtain the prize, which is an imperishable crown. (See 1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
So, a challenge is set before you! Are you ready to act upon this challenge? Let me ask the members of Highland Terrace Baptist Church to stand and make this commitment today before the Lord. Do you promise to pray for, be patient and participate with Bro Chet by following his example for the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?