This Sunday it was announced that I am leaving Somers Point and will become the pastor of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Thorofare (West Deptford, NJ).
As one might expect, this is both sad and exciting. It is always difficult to say goodbye to good friends and partners in ministry. But it is also exciting to move forward into new relationships and new possibilities. In some ways these times of pastoral transition are unique moments in our lives where significant change happens relatively quickly. In other ways, it seems that all of us are always in transition.
My six year old was a baby when we came to Somers Point, my 3 year old was not yet born. Kristin still had her entire dissertation ahead of her, and by the time we arrive in St. Paul's she will have her degree in hand. In short, we are not even the same family that we were five years ago.
During those same five years The Somers Point Church has also transitioned. The composition of Sunday morning worship is entirely different than it was not long ago. A room that was storage transitioned into an intimate worship space, then clothing store. We began Worship by the Bay, we started Tuesday night basketball for a group of young men in need of a place to go. Even now as we prepare for my departure, we are transitioning basketball night into a community night where we reach entire families in our community. This only scratches the surface--life is always developing.
The same is true in St. Paul's, Thorofare. Over the past five years there has been such growth and vitality that in someways it is not the same church it once ways. This is the nature of life--it is the nature of effective ministry. We are always growing, always transitioning into greater reflections of God.
How are you transitioning? In what ways have you grown and developed? In what ways are you preparing for the growth, development, and changes that lie ahead of you--in your life and in your church?