My brothers and sisters in Christ,
I want to begin by thanking all of you for the warm welcome for me and my family as we came to Starnes Cove this month. Your warm hospitality and many willing hands have made for a smooth transition for my family and we are deeply grateful.
This is an exciting time in the life of Starnes Cove Baptist Church, even if it has come at a very strange time for our society. COVID-19 has given rise to challenges that none of us could have anticipated even six months ago. But it has also been an opportunity for us to be reminded our dependence on the Lord as well as his enduring faithfulness to sustain us. It has also had the potential to remind us of the precious gift that is our participation in the local church, both in terms of gathering for worship and in our fellowship together as those who share in Christ’s redemption. We will continue to use wisdom and adapt to the new conditions of this present situation, but as I look toward the future, even the near future, I am excited, and I believe that God is leading us toward a new season of renewal and advancement.
The word pastor means “shepherd.” In the New Testament, a few different names or titles are used to refer to pastors: overseer, elder, bishop, as well as the term for shepherd. In God’s wisdom, he designed that local churches would be led by shepherds. That is, the spiritual oversight of the church has been given to men who serve its members with intentionality, tenderness, and a commitment to care for their souls. However, the biblical model of the pastor is also most directly that of a teacher. In fact, the one qualification that distinguishes pastors from deacons is that pastors must “be able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:2). The charge to care for, build up, and to protect the flock comes through the means of teaching. A pastor might do many things, but he is equipped by and performs his work through teaching. Whether counseling, mentoring, leading, praying, or preaching, the pastor is both teacher and shepherd. In all of the ways that I look forward to serving each of you at SCBC, I will strive to do so with the heart of a spiritual shepherd and with the mind and dedication of a teacher. In the Apostle Paul’s final words in the Bible, he instructed the young pastor Timothy above all to “preach the word” and to “be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:1-2). Please pray for me that I would be found faithful to this charge.
I look forward to getting to know you in the coming days. I will be praying for you and I ask that you pray with me for the church as we commit to love one another and to advance God’s kingdom in this community and this world.