Tustin Presbyterian Church is in a time of transition. Following the loss of their two pastors, the session (the ruling body of the church) contracted with me to provide “first response” interim ministry for a period of three to four months. During that time I drove daily from Pasadena to Tustin three days a week. Somewhere along the way, the Holy Spirit led both the session and the Ericksons to convert the short-term “first response” contract into a long-term “intentional interim pastor” contract. The upshot is that I now have the privilege of serving this congregation until they find and call a new pastor, a process that may take as long as two years. Carol and I will be in Tustin Sunday through Wednesday each week, and in Pasadena the rest of the time.
This is a resilient congregation. The loss of their two pastors was a trauma from which they continue to heal, but the signs of recovery are promising. Worship attendance is strong. Fellowship after worship is spirited. Elders, deacons, staff and volunteers are giving able leadership. Vacant staff positions have been filled. Financial pledges in support of TPC’s 2013 ministry are greater than for 2012.
Worship is a highlight of TPC’s life. A superb choir, majestic organ, and other instrumental groups lead services filled with Scripture and singing. Tired of drums, guitars, and 7/11 music (seven words repeated eleven times)? Try the alternative at Tustin Presbyterian. We celebrate the majesty of God, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the assuring presence of the Holy Spirit in song, Word, and Sacrament.
Now the Waiting Begins
Now that you have elected your Pastor Nominating Committee, some are asking, How long will it take? When will our new pastor arrive? Guesses range from six months to a year, but the fact is no one knows. So now the waiting begins.
But not just waiting, as though we were consigned to limbo, with no hope or promise of an outcome. The Psalmist offers a different outlook: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
Wait for the Lord? Not for our new pastor? No, wait for the Lord, for while the search will eventuate in a new shepherd for this flock, it is the Lord who is guiding the process. It is the Lord who is even now preparing someone for Tustin Presbyterian, and it is the Lord who, in due time, will convince both the candidate and the congregation to welcome each other.
And if you aren’t quite convinced, the Psalmist repeats himself: Wait for the Lord, he begins; wait for the Lord, he concludes. This is a standard Hebrew mode of emphasis, as if he were saying, Listen up, people! The Lord is running the universe, not to mention Tustin Presbyterian Church, so wait!
And there’s more: Be strong, and let your heart take courage. If waiting is passive, strength and courage are active! This is no time for rocking chairs! Time, rather, to read about ministry opportunities in the Sunday bulletin and here in the Parish Press. Time to say, Here am I Lord; send me.
A bit about Tom:
For now, I claim Scripture’s promise in behalf of your future: Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.1 With such a Savior at our side we may mount up with wings like eagles…run and not be weary…walk and not faint.2
225 West Main Street, Tustin, CA 92780-4319 (714)544-7070 www.tustinpresbyterian.org