Matthew 16:18b – I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (NIV)
The church that I attend, like many others today, is searching for a new pastor. Our pastor retired two years ago, after serving us for three decades. He still attends, along with his children and grandchildren. We knew that it would be difficult to replace him, but we did not realize how difficult that task would be. Dozens of pastors have been considered. For various reasons, every name has been crossed off the list.
We are a large congregation with a new building and a lot to offer the community. Programs continued. The assistant pastor stepped in; a retired ordained member became a regular; we welcome guest speakers. "Discovery Weekend" ascertained exactly what we were looking for. But as time passed, the congregation grew restless. Some of the sheep began to stray.
There was a name considered at the beginning of the search process: a pastor who had attended our church as a teen. After ordination, he was called to the United States. When our search began, he had just renewed his work visa to continue serving there, so the timing was not right.
Eventually, his name re-surfaced. An election in the United States caused some laws to be changed, and when this pastor tried to renew his visa again, he was instructed to return to Canada and apply from here. The process would take a year, and there were no guarantees.
We were sorry that he, his family, and their church were reeling from the blow, and we mistakenly assumed that God was orchestrating events and leading him to us. Our church was packed on the day that he came to preach. The vote to call him was practically unanimous. But what a shock to find out that he had also been called elsewhere in Canada! When he confirmed that he'd accepted the other call, we were sorely disappointed.
Our search continues. We must remember that our task is not only to worship together, but to surrender total control of our lives to Jesus. The Bible tells us that all believers are members of a royal priesthood. The church is built on a rock, and Christ is the cornerstone. We "are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple." (1 Peter 2:5 CEB Common English Bible)
Colossians 1:18 – And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. (MSG)
We are human, but the church is not a man-made project. Buildings may close, but new groups form elsewhere. The church is divine and cannot fail; it is Jesus' responsibility. What God began, He will sustain. Who can stop the Lord Almighty? We know that God will lead a pastor to us. Our duty is to wait for His perfect timing and continue the work that He has given us.
Prayer: Lord, give us the strength to bloom where You plant us. We are impatient. Often, we do not understand Your ways. But we can be assured that You are a precious cornerstone anchoring Your family, the church — and nothing can stop its growth. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Praise My Soul The King Of Heaven" (Lyrics)