I love our church. It is a great joy to be the pastor of Our Saviour. We have many great people who love sacrificially, serve whole-heartedly, and worship Jesus with everything they are. While I want to submit every thought and plan to God’s will, by faith I believe God has many exciting things in store for our church family. Our congregation has embraced the Three50 Initiative and we have begun to hear stories of God using the people of Our Saviour to transform unbelievers into followers of Jesus Christ. God has called so many people into local and global missionary efforts that we are well on our way to our three year goal with several exciting opportunities coming in the near future (more on that in another letter). Above all, we want to be faithful to the people and ministry God has entrusted us with.
Faithfulness to people and ministry involves two main areas of focus. First, we must position ourselves to love and serve those God has already put in our midst. Secondly, it means we must continually think of those who are not Christians and those who are not here…yet. In other words, as a biblical church, we must balance the tension of wise stewardship and hopeful expectations. I believe we are doing this well, but I also sense God calling us to expand our efforts. This is especially true in the area of our staffing structure. Currently, our ministry staff consists of myself as Senior Pastor, Brandon Myers as Interim Youth Pastor, Nancy Mau as Our Saviour Kids Director, and Rita Bruzik as Ministry Assistant. Rita and I work full-time, Brandon is paid for 20 hours/week and Nancy for 15 hours/week (though, each of us finds joy in serving beyond our paid time as an act of worship of God).
Recognizing that our current needs and the vision God has called us to would require more staffing, our elders proposed, and you as a congregation approved, a 2012 budget that included the salary for a full-time associate pastor. However, having just begun to serve as pastor in late August of 2011, myself and the rest of the elder council (of which I am one of six members) believed the wisest course of action was to take the first part of 2012 to pray and evaluate our current needs, seeking God for our future direction in regards to staffing. This would give me time to observe the operations of our church and assess our most pressing needs. Additionally, after several years of fluctuating staff and varying income levels, it would give us a consistent window to evaluate our giving and determine our budget capabilities moving forward. This time has been well spent and we believe God has clarified both our needs and His provision for some of those needs.
I do not know about you, but I sense an excitement and a passion among our church. While I can honestly tell you I do not judge success based on attendance figures, at times they can provide a helpful index for the direction of our church and its ministries. Not everyone will like us, but a healthy church should grow. Over the past several months, we have seen an increase in attendance for our Sunday morning worship service, our youth ministry, our AWANA clubs, and many other key areas of ministry from their levels at this time one year ago. We seem to be growing slightly in some areas and significantly in others. This combined with what God is calling us to leads me to believe we need to slightly increase our staffing. However, our giving thus far this year has not met our approved budget (I am not scolding anyone, that is simply a fact). All of this brought me to the conclusion that God was leading us toward a compromise of more than we currently have and less than a full-time associate pastor. Again, we want to be wise stewards who are bold and faith-filled.
As I prayed about and considered our needs, God led me to the conclusion that an organic staffing position will best meet our needs at the present time and moving into the future. We hope to continue these trends of growth as well as refine our current ministries and press out in faith toward the Three50 Challenge. We need someone who can work in multiple areas of ministry. This must be a pastor who can preach and teach as well as someone who can build ministries and refine procedures. In short, we are looking for a fairly unique and talented man.
However, God has already blessed us with just such a pastor. Which finally brings me to an exciting announcement; our elder council is proposing that Brandon Myers be hired on a permanent basis as the Assistant Pastor for Youth and Ministry Operations. We are proposing this as a ¾ time position. Pastor Brandon has already proven himself to be an effective pastor to our students. Under his leadership, our youth ministry has grown and, much more importantly, I am confident that Pastor Brandon has implemented a Bible-saturated, discipleship-focused vision for ministry. In addition to his abilities in youth ministry, Brandon is a gifted pastor who is humble, loves God’s Word, and desires nothing more than to bring God glory and see people love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. I told our elders that one of the many things that has impressed me about Brandon is his ability to learn and work in a broad range of areas, which I think makes him an ideal choice to fill this new position.
If approved, Pastor Brandon will split his time between 15-20 hours a week in youth ministry and 10-15 hours a week in ministry operations. Ministry operations will include working with various segments of our Sunday morning programs and other ministries geared toward adults, preaching and teaching, counseling, visitation, and assisting me with other areas of pastoral ministry. In the coming weeks, I would be happy to provide anyone who would like it with the full, proposed job description. In addition to his ministry at Our Saviour, Pastor Brandon still intends to complete his Master of Divinity degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on time.
Here are a few details that will be helpful for you to know. As with all of our permanent pastoral positions, this must be affirmed by a congregational vote (One point of clarification: a change in budget will not be necessary because the budget was approved with another position in mind. This proposal will actually save money in the 2012 budget. The vote will only be whether to approve Pastor Brandon in this role.). In order to put you in the best position to make an informed decision, Pastor Brandon will have a candidating Sunday on June 10, 2012. He will preach a message from God’s Word during our worship service, there will be a Question & Answer session from 11:00-12:00 (following the worship service) with a light continental brunch provided and candidating activities will also take place during the Common Ground youth group meeting that evening. Following this candidating Sunday, there will be a vote during our congregational business meeting, which the elders have moved to June 11 to accommodate this exciting staff proposal.
I am excited about God’s provision in this area and look forward to all God will do through this move. I encourage you to make it a priority to be here for these candidating activities. If you have any questions or would like to know more about this proposal, please feel free to contact me by phone, email, or speak with me in person. Pastor Brandon is a humble, gifted man and we are excited to propose him to you for the position of Assistant Pastor for Youth and Ministry Operations.
For the sake of His name,