This coming Sunday marks an important milestone in the life of our church. We will be ordaining three elders from the Palos congregation. This, together with Michael’s shift to associate pastor, will begin a new phase in which the Palos congregation is more directly self-governed. While we will continue to have ultimately one Session that together oversees both congregations, much of the local decisions and pastoral oversight for Palos will belong to Michael, Craig, Bob, and Steve. At the risk of oversimplifying, if before there was a mother-daughter relationship between Hinsdale and Palos, it has now changed to that of an older sister-younger sister.
This step offers us with another reminder of the faithfulness of God. When in 2013 we began this project of planting a new congregation in the Palos area, none of us could anticipate the different challenges and complexities we would face—church planting (of any kind) is hard! But neither would we know how clearly God would demonstrate his ongoing grace to us:
- God has provided for us financially, both with the initial large fundraising and with the ongoing needs. Every year, even when the future feels uncertain, there has been “manna” for that day.
- God has provided our fledgling congregation with people we never would have reached had we stayed as one congregation. We have rejoiced over adult baptisms, new members added, and people becoming established in their faith.
- God has guided our leadership through unpredictable challenges, including a leadership transition. I will never forget how in God’s timing he brought us Michael Langer just at the very moment we needed his leadership.
- And God has now granted us with more remarkably gifted leaders, both in the three men about to be ordained and also the Palos Women’s Shepherding Team who are currently being trained.
Our God is faithful. He has provided.
Even as we celebrate this truth and give God thanks, it is also important for us to keep this congregation in prayer. Would you please take some time out this weekend to pray for the leadership of Palos, and also for the entire congregation? Pray for spiritual fruitfulness—that in this coming year God would grow this congregation both in maturity and size, and that many would be brought to Christ through it. Pray that this congregation would be both faithful and fruitful in experiencing and extending the life-changing love of Jesus in their homes, workplaces, and communities.
To the glory of God.