One of the great joys of my life has been to work with a pastoral staff at New Covenant. We are a small congregation with even smaller financial resources. Our staff members are all part time. They serve out of a sense of call and sometimes with a desire for experience and supervision before stepping out into full time ministry. Located in Cleveland, Tennessee we have a host of ministerial students from whom to select. Typically, we choose staff that first chose us as their home church in Cleveland. Occasionally, we must recruit from outside.
In addition to Cheryl and me as co-pastors, we currently have a Youth Pastor, a Children’s Pastor and a Worship Pastor. Our Children’s Pastor, Vernice Blackaby, works for Church of God World Mission; she has been a member of our church for many years and Children’s Pastor for four or five. Our Youth Pastor, Brian Dalton, has been a member for five or six years and our staff member for most of that time. Our Worship Pastor, Justin Spears, joined our staff a few weeks ago; He is a student at our Seminary.
I am full time at the Seminary; I preach most Sundays, provide pastoral care, provide oversight to all ministries and oversee the fiscal aspects of the church. Consequently, I can’t provide close supervision for the staff, especially in the last three or four years as I have directed the seminary’s reaffirmation of accreditation efforts. Imagine this: without my close supervision the children’s and youth ministries have expanded their programs and enlarged their numbers. More importantly, God is doing great things in the lives of our children and youth and those who minister to them.
Over the years we have had some outstanding young ministers: brilliant, gifted, devoted, visionaries. Some, like me, have been less than stellar in their skills but made up for it in faithfulness and devotion. Virtually all have ministered effectively out of both their strengths and hurts. They became significant members of our church family. They edified us as the Body of Christ, and we felt great loss when they moved on to other ministries. At least one found us less than stellar, void of a “spirit of excellence.” He just couldn’t grasp that church is far more than a weekly event.
I am truly thankful for everyone who has served on our pastoral staff over the years. We are so very proud of them. It is an honor to have walked and ministered beside them. Even the one who left us disappointed by our perceived lack of support for his ministry, gave us his gifts of service that touched our lives.
October 18, 2010