Many Messages (or, Lessons from a New Pastor)

Our church’s new pastor was inducted last Sunday.

In introducing himself, he brought a sermon that “laid his cards on the table” (so to speak). I mentioned to my mate, Kym, how I thought the message was great. “What message? There were many messages,” he replied.

Certainly there were. Here are a few of them:

  • It is OK–even recommended–to have doubts, to be skeptical, to ask questions.
  • Church ought to be a place where it is safe for anyone to ask their questions and be heard and understood.
  • ‘Because my church says so,’ or ‘Because my parents taught me that way’ is not a good enough reason to believe something.
  • We need to use our intellect to make sense of our Christianity. Our ability to reason is a gift.
  • It’s good to read books written by people outside of our frame of reference or subculture.
  • ‘Christian’ is not an adjective.
  • In following people and their teachings, it is important that we realise that anyone and anything can present or reflect God’s truth.
  • Therefore, it’s OK to use a Bob Dylan song in church. Even Bob Dylan can speak God’s truth.
  • It’s OK to have tattoos.
  • Tattoos are a great entry into hearing someone’s story and relating to them on some level.
  • Everyone has a story. If you don’t have one, watch out because God might give you one.
  • Saying ‘Amen’ in a sermon if you agree with something the pastor said is fine.

Mike spoke for around half an hour and gave us a good sense of who he was and where he was on his own adventure called life. Personally, I was so grateful that the long process of calling a pastor was finally complete–and we have found someone who seems to have a good theology, common sense, and a genuineness about him (who gets embarrassed at all the attention drawn to him and his family at his induction service.)

The cynic in me says ‘Time will tell whether this was a good choice.’ But the optimist in me is simply overwhelmed that we now have someone who has joined us on our journey who is not so concerned about telling us where to go as much as walking the road with us.


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