In The United Methodist Church, meeting your new pastor starts with the Introductory Meeting. As the name implies, the meetings are a chance to introduce the church to the pastor and the pastor to the church.
I’m not sure anyone really knows what they want to say or ask at these meetings. But something that seems to come out much sooner than later is the first clue in. The clue in is when people have told me who the movers and shakers are of the congregation.
I appreciate the gesture.
The assumption is the pastor may want to get things done. These are the people to help make that happen. To be sure, some things need moving and other things need shaking. While those occasions come and go, the need for prayer remains constant.
So, among my first questions is who are the people who pray? The people who you would call first when you needed someone to pray for you? Now, there are people who pray. Many Christians would probably say they do. But then there are people who live and breathe prayer. I want to know who those people are. They are the real movers and shakers.
I call him the real John Fletcher.
He was the man John Wesley picked to lead the Methodist movement after his death. Why did Wesley pick him? I’m sure he had good organizational skills. And I’m sure we would consider him a good leader. He wrote well and people respected him. But others have said of him what I bet was key. That “John Fletcher stained the walls of his room by the breath of his prayers.”
The apostle Paul left Titus in Crete to establish God’s church in a place that needed it. Crete was not a place of peace or love. That’s probably why Paul went there. His charge to Titus was to find the right people to teach and lead the church. To the point, Paul’s outline of who to look for did not include specific leadership skills. Instead, he was looking for evidence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
In our churches today, those are the qualities we need to seek and nurture. Jesus said we could move mountains by faith. Then why do we try so hard to do so with programs and new leadership models? Let’s get moving and shake up the world by committing to prayer and fasting. By living in the hope of eternal life.