We ordained the newest member of our ministry team yesterday here at GCR Church. Jim Tuttle comes to us from Lincoln, Nebraska where he has served for 25 years as the founder and Lead Minister at Heartlands Church, to be our Spiritual Formation Minister. Jim brings his wealth of wisdom and experience and his laid-back, relaxed, and extremely relational personality to our adult Bible classes and small groups, to lead us more fully into transformation and mission, into being changed by God to love like Jesus.
In addition to his warm personality and his obvious love for our Lord and devotion to the ways of Jesus, what I see in Jim is that he’s a church guy. He knows church. He loves church. He understands church. You know, church is a funny thing. It’s strange. Church looks funny and talks funny and walks funny and thinks funny and acts funny. And Jim understands it. He knows how it works and what won’t fly. He cares deeply for the people who make up church and he works tirelessly to include the whole church in what God is doing in us and through us to his glory.
Jim’s first official day on the job, today, happens to be the first Monday of the month, the day of our monthly ministers retreat. For twelve years now I’ve made it a habit to host our ministers for breakfast on the first Monday of each month for a time in Word and Prayer, mutual burden sharing, big-picture planning, and group bonding and encouragement. Today, we spent some of our time equipping Jim for what’s in front of him. We want him to be prepared, we don’t want there to be any surprises. So we told him what he needs to know about the others in the group.
We told him that on Ryan’s birthday month or if Ryan happens to win the football pool or the basketball bracket, the monthly staff lunch will be at the food court at the Midland Mall. We told him that Ashlee’s sweet demeanor hides a fierce justice-seeking spirit and that whatever side Ashlee is on, she’s on it out of a righteous indignation and you need to get on board. We told him that J.E. sometimes walks barefoot around the church offices (gross). We told him that Cory’s texts will take up 3-4 scrolls, that Tim likes to come across as gruff but he’s really a sensitive, caring, loving individual, and that I sometimes take Ted Nugent’s name in vain.
I am thankful to God for bringing Jim and Judy to GCR. They are going to make us a better church for the Gospel mission here in Midland to our Lord’s eternal glory and praise.
We spent 45-minutes together in the Psalms and prayed for people in our small groups and ministries at GCR, for each other and our families, and for our church. We spent an hour looking at the overall state of things as we are six-months into our Breakthrough campaign and halfway through our Worship Center construction. We evaluated the current conditions with our classes and groups, with attendance and giving, with guests and new members, with the formation zones and overall communication. And we finalized most of the framework for our GCR 60th Anniversary and Homecoming on October 15. And we shared a serious breakfast casserole Susie Neale cooked for us.
We closed out our monthly ministers retreat with a benediction Ryan brought to us from Every Moment Holy. I recommend this prayer for any group of ministers or church committee:
Our lives are so small, O Lord,
Our vision so limited,
our courage so frail,
our hours so fleeting.
Therefore give us grace and guidance for the journey ahead.
We are gathered here because we believe
that we are called together into a work
we cannot yet know the fullness of.
Still, we trust the voice of the One who has called us.
And so we offer to you, O God, these things:
Our dreams, our plans, our vision.
Shape them as you will.
Our moments and our gifts.
May they be invested toward bright, eternal ends.
Richly bless the work before us, Father.
Shepherd us well lest we grow enamored
of our own accomplishment or entrenched in old habit.
Instead, let us listen for your voice,
our hearts ever open to the quiet beckonings
of your Spirit in this endeavor.
Let us in true humility and poverty of
spirit remain ever ready to move at the
impulse of your love in paths of your design.
May our acts of service and creation,
frail and wanting as they are,
be met and multiplied by the mysterious workings of your Spirit
who weaves all things together toward
a redemption more good and glorious
than yet we have eyes to see or courage to hope for.
May our love and our labors now echo your love
and your labors, O Lord.
Let all that we do here,
in these our brief lives,
in this our brief moment to love,
in this the work you have ordained for this community,
flower in winsome and beautiful foretaste
of greater glories yet to come.
O Spirit of God, now shape our hearts.
O Spirit of God, now guide our hands.
O Spirit of God, now build your Kingdom among us.