It has been a year to the day that I came on board as English Pastor of CGF Manhattan. To say that Lauren and I thoroughly love being here is an understatement. Our move and transition to CGF couldn't have gone much better. To God be all the glory.
Here are a few things over the past year that I have appreciated about my church that I believe will benefit any church and its pastor.
NOTE: To be perfectly clear, I am under no illusions that I have pastoring all figured out, nor am I saying that CGF is the perfect church. However, I do believe that the following traits I have witnessed over the past year not only have contributed to my joy as their new pastor, but would bring great comfort and joy for any new pastor when joining a church.
1. The leaders of the church are supportive.
The core team of the English congregation has been amazing. Not only did they take the lead in the pastor search that led to my joining CGF, but they have shown themselves to be some of the most hospitable, generous, and pleasant people I've ever met. In addition, they perform a lot of administrative tasks that allow me to devote the majority of my time to preparing messages, Bible studies, and discipling relationships. Though I made very few changes in my first year in terms of general church life and activities, whenever I did introduce something new (such as monthly prayer meetings or combined month-long Sunday School classes on baptism and how to read the Bible), they were among the most supportive and enthusiastic.
2. The volunteers of the church are selfless.
Because of the requirements of setting up and tearing down for service in a building we do not own, as well as the large number of children and young people that attend Sunday School every week, many of our adult and teenaged members selflessly give of their time and energy every Sunday for the sake of the multitude of children that we serve. From serving in technical areas (sound, media, set-up/tear-down) to praise team to children's worship to Sunday School teaching, the volunteers of CGF serve and serve excellently.
3. The congregation is eager to learn from someone barely older than them.
Though I turned 30 in my first year at CGF, the congregation nevertheless has shown me respect and a willingness to learn from someone who is admittedly young for a head pastor. For that I am extremely appreciative.
The writer of Hebrews writes as follows:
"Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17)
Because I will have to give an account to the Lord as to how I shepherd this congregation, I am all the more grateful that they make my calling and office a joy to fill, and I am excited for what we as a church will do in the upcoming years.