First thing this morning, I met with pastor Joe. We've been asked to lead a seminar on how to have a good pastoral transition in ministry. We sat and talked for an hour and a half about what has made our transition work. While there are a number of factors, at the top of the list would be character. That Joe is a character few would dispute, but that's not what I'm talking about here. He is a young man who knows who he is in Christ, is not afraid to lead out of that self-identity, yet does it all the while honoring the ministry I had and seeing it as the foundation for what God has called him to do. His sole agenda is seeing people come to Christ and discipling them to spiritual maturity.
Joe and I are very different. He is extrovert extraordinaire, while I am content being all by myself. He maintains a schedule that would put me under in about two days, but freely admits that it is hard for him to sit still long enough to write his sermons. We respect each other, and I have no doubt that he is God's man for the hour. He's beginning to cast his own shadow, which is different than mine, but instead of trying to take the congregation in an entirely different direction, is standing on my shoulders and seeing farther than I was able to do. There are times that it feels odd to not be at the helm, and to be out of the informational loop, but retiring was the right decision. I am very blessed to have the privilege of serving under his leadership, and am deeply grateful that he is my pastor.
Tonight I go to sleep knowing that he has a full plate tomorrow, with a couple funerals in the wings, Sunday for which to prepare, and a schedule of meetings with people that would wear me out. So I pray for him; for wisdom as he comforts those who are grieving, for discernment as he orders his days, for insight as he prepares his sermons, for rest and refreshment with his family, and for God's protection over him in all he does. He's on the front line, and is a target for spiritual attack, so I join others who keep lifting him in prayer to the Father who loves and guides his children, and who holds his leaders in the palm of his hand.