You will soon be fully joining with a new congregation. At one level, this changes nothing: you will be responsible to encourage your fellow church members there as it has always been your responsibility to encourage your fellow church members here.
At another level, this dramatically changes the shape of your ministry. You will encounter a different church culture, a culture which is blind to some problems that you will see clearly, and also a culture that sees clearly some problems to which you are blind.
Your task is to be an approved worker, to pass on to them the things you have learned from me. The thing you must recognize is that they will have the exact same task with you: to pass on to you the things they have learned from their leaders. It is your job to make sure that both they and you succeed.
In both cases, this means you must be humble. Hear what they have to offer to you, consider it carefully, and understand in advance that God will bring correction to you through them. Esteem others better than yourself. When you have something to say to them, be wise. Choose your words and tone carefully. Stir up your brothers to love and good deeds; don’t provoke them to rebellion, and again, esteem others better than yourself.
This means that you need to remember how painful some of these lessons have been. They will be no less painful for others. Have some sympathy, and don’t rush them, which leads me to another point. You must remember that it took you a long time to get to where you are. You have no right to expect someone to absorb in five minutes a lesson that God taught you over five years. Trust God, and trust His timing. You are fellow servants of God; He will grow them just as He grows you, and as you well know, that often means slowly.
Poetry to my ears, Tim! I love to write a scripture in my own words. It’s like saying to God, “Here’s what I’m hearing you say…” It’s good listening therapy. I think you nailed this one.
Also, I wanted to let you know I got an A on my mimetics paper! I just posted it on my blog, too, now that the semester is over. You had mentioned you’d like to read it. Thanks for the encouragement!
Thank you, Missy. I’m literally in the middle of a move this week, but I’ll have a gander at the paper as soon as things die down a little.