WHEN A PASTOR LEAVES

We had an incredible day this past Sunday at Grace. If you missed it, I hope you’ll watch the podcast as I had a chance to interview Scott Johnson about what God is doing in his life.

As many of you know, Scott and Alden, will begin the new work of planting North Tarrant Church in February this January – which means God wants to do a new work here through a new Student Pastor.

One of the difficult things in churches is when a beloved staff member is called to do another work, the person who follows them often suffers. This shouldn’t happen, but it does. The people who loved and were loyal to the former staff member tend to compare the new person to the one who left, and it puts the new staff member at a tremendous disadvantage.  It’s natural for this to happen, but we’re to respond in a different way.

This isn’t some new phenomenon because even in the early church there were difficulties of people following personalities rather than trusting what God was doing in their midst. Paul, one of the greatest church planters of all time wrote to the Christians at the church in Corinth and said….

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters.12 Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!   1 CORINTHIANS 1:10-13 NLT

Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?   After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.   1 CORINTHIANS 3:1-9 NLT

As you think about the future here, and for Scott and Alden – PRAY!   Pray for God to use them in incredible ways in their new work, and pray for the person God will bring to take over where Scott left off.  Pray they will  be fully accepted as the person God has for our church family when they join  us.   Granted, trust is built over time, but we need to give any new Student Pastor the benefit of the doubt and believe God is going to use them in incredible ways in our church and community.

About bjrutledge

BJ & Janet were married in July 1977 They have three grown children who are all married: Jeremy & Whitney Rutledge, Chris & Julie Hurst, and Josh and Hannah Rutledge. They also have four grandsons, and a granddaughter. BJ says perhaps our greatest legacy is even though our kids are PK's, they love Jesus and are all involved in ministry in the local church. BJ has served at churches in Dallas - Bossier City, LA - Houston - and was at Fellowship of the Woodlands (Woodlands Church) in The Woodlands before coming to Grace Fellowship. BJ is the Lead Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise, TX.
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