This Sunday we were delighted to officially welcome Lawrence Siemens as our new associate pastor focused on ministry to seniors. It was a wonderful service of commissioning. We heard words of encouragement from Rick Neufeld of Mennonite Church Manitoba. We reminded ourselves of our mission and vision as a church. We gathered around Lawrence and prayed for him. And we heard Lawrence himself speak words of appreciation and commitment, in his sincere and humble way.
There is a strong sense of gratitude to the Lord around Lawrence’s appointment. This brings our pastoral staff up to a full complement for a congregation our size, something we haven’t had in more than a year, something we have sorely needed. It enables us to serve a significant segment of our congregation more effectively. And Lawrence is just a really great guy—a good man.
Every week we gather as church staff—lead pastor, associate pastors, youth coordinator, admin assistant, and sometimes custodians—to talk about how things are going and what’s coming up, and to pray. We often call these our “team meetings.” Sometimes I’ll end off with a cheer of “Go team!”
But the reality is we are not “the team” here at Morden Mennonite Church, at least not the full team. “The team” is the entire congregation: all members and adherents, everyone who participates in the life of the church, whether coming to a worship service on Sunday or a committee meeting on Tuesday or helping a neighbour on Friday, whether having a prominent and public role or doing the unnoticed and unannounced.
No, we as pastors are not the team. We are more like “player-coaches,” providing some guidance here, some oversight there, but serving alongside the rest of the congregation to do the work of the church, the ministry of the gospel to which Christ has called us.
We are all together Christ’s body, and we need each other—every gift the Spirit has given, each person’s unique experience and energy and personality and character and knowledge and insight and talent and skill. We are all together Christ’s team, working together to accomplish the goal that Christ has set before us: seeking to express the reconciling and transforming love of God through Jesus Christ, being guided by the Holy Spirit to be a nurturing community of peace, witness, and service to one another and the world.