“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” Isaiah 40:1
Yesterday, in Terri’s sermon about relationships she talked about family reunions and how her granddaughter always looks around when the family is gathered and says, “These are my people.”
Even if I don’t say that phrase to myself each Sunday in worship, sometimes I look out and think as your pastor, “These are my people.” And as a pastor, I have to remind myself on days like Christmas Eve when the church is packed and we have to literally bring in chairs, that the folks who are members here but only come to worship on holidays are still “my people.”
What does that mean in terms of pastoral care? I have often said ministry is like a dance—sometimes I dance too close and sometimes not close enough. Folks have different needs and expect different amounts of attention from the church and their pastor. Of course I want our members to be actively involved in our ministry and that means attending worship and participating during the year, but I also know that when folks join the church and reaffirm their faith and I ask them, “Will you be a faithful member of the church?” they have to decide what that means to them.
As your pastor, I worry when “my people” are not here or when you are going through a period in your life when church is not a priority. I reach out in different ways and am always “nagging” our elders about keeping in touch with the families under their care in our PPC CARES ministry, and yet I realize relationships require a response from both parties.
In today’s culture where folks are reluctant to join anything, we still have church membership, and that means if you are a member of this church, then for the pastor and elders and team leaders and fellow members, we can all look at you and say you are “my people.”
So as we begin this New Year 2020, know that you belong—not just to the church, but to the God who loves you, and as Isaiah reminds us, looks at us just like Terri’s granddaughter looks at her family and says with love, “These are my people.”
It’s an honor and a joy to be your pastor.
Blessings in the New Year,