Midweek Message 01/19/2022



Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #92!  As always, thanks for allowing me in your inbox.

Well, I think winter is here! I was at the Y on Monday and had an acquaintance whom I have talked with before made that statement. I said, “Yep. We held off as long as we could.” However, at least we aren’t in the south! Tami is an Atlanta Braves fan (crazy I know) and we saw a news report with Atlanta in the background and it was snowing “to beat the band.” Nice of those Atlanta people to take all that snow from us. J

COVID has caused some things to slow down. We are staying busy and due to the pandemic we are thinking and planning into the future. I’d like to share some of that with you this week, as well as give you a personal thought or two at the end.

This past Sunday morning, Hope East presented in both services a dream and passion of hers: to start a Care Team Ministry that will reach all people, all ages, and all needs. Over the next couple of MMs, I plan to help Hope get the word out to those who may not hear the message via in person or live stream. Let me also reiterate what I said in the 2nd service (but failed to do so in the 1st): the elders are 150% behind this. Some of the teams will require a little extra money (like the baby team or military team) and we have made sure that money was budgeted.

Hope #1: OVCF has been an integral part of our community because of our legacy of serving. The new Care Team Ministry (CTM) will fit beautifully within that legacy. OVCF has so much love and so many gifts and passions to share with one another and our community. The CTM will encompass different teams to offer care, love and compassion to our church community.  Interested? The story continues next week with Hope #2.

Years ago I heard a pastor say, “For a church to grow big it must grow small.” What he was essentially speaking about was the need for the church to have small groups. Over the years we have had small groups start. The past few years we have had two groups which have continued to meet on a fairly consistent basis. Several months ago Steve Pendleton challenged the elders to consider making small groups more of a priority (my words). He was right. We agreed. Meanwhile, there have been several folks who have expressed an interest in being involved in small groups. This past month in the elder’s meeting we committed to pursue it with more purpose. While there is still much work that needs to go on behind the scenes (studying, planning, projecting, etc.) this Sunday will be the start of it. We need to put “feelers” out to see who might be interested in being involved in a small group. A short presentation will be made and on the back table will be a sign-up sheet for you to indicate your desired level of involvement. Do you want to teach/lead? Do you want to offer your place as a host site? Do you want to just be involved in a group? You will have your chance to let us know beginning this Sunday. Please keep this in mind: this is not going to happen overnight. We are trying to find out who and how many folks might want to be involved. So look for that announcement and sign-up sheet this Sunday!!

I read an interesting article this past Monday from James Emery White, pastor of Mecklenburg Church in Charlotte, NC. It was about what is being called The Great Resignation. He begins like this:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more Americans left their job in April 2021 than in any other month or record. That record was broken in July 2021, which was then broken in August. And then it was broken again in September. This is what is being called the “Great Resignation.”

Derek Thompson, writing for The Atlantic, notes that most of those who are quitting are low-wage workers getting better jobs in industries that are raising wages to get desperately needed new employees.

Thompson calls it a “Big Switch” rather than a “Big Quit.”  {My note: some will debate what he wrote}

But Pastor White makes a claim that for many it is about burnout.

People in jobs that were particularly affected by all things COVID-think educators, healthcare workers and …pastors. In November of 2021 38% of all Protestant pastors said that they had considered quitting full-time vocational ministry in the past year (a rise of 9 points from January of 2021). An alarming 46% of pastors under the age of 45 are thinking of quitting altogether.

The question is why? Think all things COVID. Think all things which can alienate and anger one group or another. Open/close. Masked/unmasked. Vaxxed/non-vaxxed.  The 2020 election and on-going “stuff.” And this thing of going digital (live stream) which is definitely not in my skill set or many other pastors. {End of Pastor White’s comments}

(Thank you Pastor Ryan and Joe Pavich for being the driving force with this. And thanks to all the individuals who help make this happen each week).

All this to say: with so many pastors teetering on the edge, where does that put Pastor Ryan and me?  I can only speak for myself (but feel we agree). Since the pandemic started over 2 years ago, I can honestly say I have never had one thought about leaving. OVCF is an amazing church. Why would I want to? We have been in this together for 16+ years. Why would I want to start over? We have our differences and opinions. And yes, we have had some folks move on. That happens whether there is a pandemic or not.

I’m going to close with Pastor White’s closing paragraph: “Could you say a prayer for your pastor? Could you grant them sympathetic grace on whatever response to an issue or decision they had to make that you may have disagreed with? You know it couldn’t have been easy. And ask yourself-is masking, an election, a vaccine, on the level of doctrine, mission or Christian community? Leadership is a tough role. Can’t we agree to disagree…agreeably?”

I know I speak for both Pastor Ryan and myself on this: please, please, please do pray for us. I know we both love OVCF and what we do and the people we serve, but that does not negate our need for your daily prayers. So…do us all a favor: pray for us as we pray for you. Together we can navigate these current events and anything else the future may bring.

Thanks for reading and listening this week.  J  I sincerely love you all.

Pastor Bill


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