Author: SLPAGE

What does an Interim Minister do?

A question I’m asked frequently is, “What does an Interim Minister do?”  Great question!  Sometimes I wonder about that, too.  This is my sixth intentional interim ministry and I am still trying to come up with a good answer.  The reason is that each congregation is unique and the need changes from church to church.  The best answer I can give to the question is that an Interim Minister is a “Temporary Shepherd.”  This is the image Roger Nicholson used in writing the foundational text on interim ministry, and it is a fitting description of the work we do.

The Interim Minister is temporary in that we go into a church with the agreement that we are only going to be there for a limited time.  During that time the Interim Minister “shepherds” the congregation through the emotional and spiritual process of preparing for the coming of a new pastor and the future God has for them.  This “interim” time, or “in-between” time is important in the life of the church.  It is a time to reflect on the past while looking forward to the future.  It is a time of waiting on God, and at the same time gearing up to receive new leadership.  It’s a time of great anticipation, but also a time of high anxiety.  And, as we all know it’s in these times that we need someone to help us who has some experience with these things.  That is what an interim minister does.

One of the advantages of having gone through this process numerous times is that it has given me the privilege of watching as God brings new vision understanding to congregations they need as they enter into a new future.  I know that God will do the same here at Lake Ozark Christian church and I look forward to making this journey with you.

My only caution here is to not rush through it, but instead, cherish this time as a gift from God.  Open your heart and let God do a new work in you and in the life of the church.  Let’s make this a time of spiritual renewal and a reawakening of our commitment to Christ and his church.

Pastor Paul

A Final Perspective

Saying “so long” is a part of these lives we live.  Each and every one of us has, at some point in our lives, experienced “so long” moments.

I have been fortunate to serve as pastor here at LOCC for almost 7 years.  During that time, we have worshiped, worked, laughed, cried, taught, learned and shared community together. We’ve also said “so long” to many in our church family.  We have celebrated their lives when their earthly journey was finished, and we have seen them move away to be closer to family and other types of care.

As the packing begins to move toward Midwest City, Oklahoma to serve with the good people of First Christian Church of Midwest City, I am thankful for the memories of this journey. Nancy will be leaving soon to teach at Mid-Del Schools, and I will follow at the end of August.

Thanks to all in this special place who have become our lake family.  As Nancy and I move on to new adventures, I give thanks for our time together and look forward to hearing the exciting ways LOCC will proclaim the Good of Jesus to the world in the future!

Peace!

Gary

Vacation Bible School

Our Vacation Bible School is complete for this summer, and we want to thank all who participated, both kids and leaders!  Each summer, we search for ways to share God’s love, and this was certainly a great experience.  We learned to ROAR!

Each day’s theme started with When Life….. and ended with “God is Good”

For example, the focus on “When Life is Unfair, God is Good!”…(day 1).  Day 2 had us understanding “When Life is Scary, God is Good!”  Other days were; “When Life Changes…God is Good”,  “When Life is Sad…God is Good”, and When Life is Good, God is Good!

Our teachers, volunteers, and kids did a great job with this VBS, and will present some of the scriptures, music, and fun in our 10:30 worship service this Sunday!  I hope you will join us as we share the message of our VBS at this week’s worship!  To see more of our fun, check out additional pictures on our Facebook page!  And don’t forget to ROAR!

Peace,

Gary

A Pastor’s Perspective

Last Friday, I went to help with the clean-up of Community Christian Church in Jefferson City. As you recall, the church was hit by a tornado last week. I was one of around 80 helpers who removed debris, cut down broken trees, picked up broken glass, and other things to assist this congregation in getting back on their feet.

After I arrived, a school bus containing 28 students and a couple of teachers showed up to help. These high school students had finished their last day of school on Thursday and were spending the next day in tornado relief. They worked hard and really had an impact on the church property. They were the hands and feet of Christ that day. I was glad to have been there with them!

Each of us is called to reach out our own lives and to connect to God’s world in mission. Each one of us has a part to play. We don’t have to do everything, but each of us can do something! I hope we will find your own “something” and become involved in something that helps others. We each are called to serve someone. No matter what our age.

One part of serving calls us to give some of our time. Those kids and coaches last week gave their time and energy. One way we can serve is by giving our time this Saturday and Sunday as participants in our Epiphany retreat. I hope you will join me there as we begin to seek God’s vision for the future of Lake Ozark Christian Church. I hope to see you at this important event!

Peace!

Gary

A Pastor’s Perspective

Last Wednesday we completed another school year with our Wednesday afternoon kids program! This year, the group sang songs, studied the Bible, had great snacks, and played lots of games, and performed Christmas and Easter plays. Our kids were fantastic!

This program would not happen without the adults who give of their time to make it happen. Lots of thanks to Patty Savage, Don Savage, Terri Van Clavern, Nancy Mitchell, Jennifer Rosa, Sandy Wilson, Kendra Weingart, Bette Taylor, Glenda Frazier, David Kirchner, Dianne Betz, Greg Weingart, Matt Hendon, Heather Hendon, Gracie Mitchell, and others who provided snacks and support. I apologize if I missed anyone! Thanks to all who have supported this opportunity for our children to learn more about their faith journey!

The recent storm damage and flooding around our area and throughout the nation have caused some to ask what the church can do to help. There are many charitable organizations that help, but the organization that is specifically Disciples of Christ focused is Week of Compassion. We take an offering each year for Week of Compassion. The funds are used to offer “solidarity grants” to Disciples churches and families connected to them when disasters occur. WOC has already connected with First Christian Church in Eldon and Community Christian in Jefferson City to assist both churches and those in their congregation who had damage. We will focus on their need this week. Your contributions to Week of Compassion are needed!

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend!

Gary

A Pastor’s Perspective

The Magic Dragon Car Show is in the books. This week it’s Mother’s Day. Graduations from our schools are happening, and we are just a few weeks away from summer here at the lake. There is something about this time of year for our church. Our church friends and families that have been away for the colder months are returning and re-connecting. It is great to get them back!

We started our 8:15 service last Sunday, and will soon begin to worship in our outdoor worship center as soon as the temperature warms up on Sunday mornings. It is a great time of year to be church together!

I invite you to find your spot at church this weekend, where we celebrate Mother’s Day together, and each and every Sunday after that! Your presence makes a difference here! Come join the fun and conversation at our new “Holy Ground Cafe”, where you will meet our new friends and renew old acquaintances!

I hope to see you this Sunday as we worship God together and celebrate the Good News!

Peace,

Gary

Unexpected developments

Sometimes, your day doesn’t go quite as you planned. On Monday, I texted Dianne that I wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t be in to the office. Later that afternoon, I was at urgent care. The evening found me in the emergency room.

Tuesday afternoon found me in surgery to remove an appendix that was ready to leave my body. Totally unexpected. At no time would I have ever guessed my week would turn out this way. It’s Friday, and I am getting closer to fine.

Through all of this, I have been so thankful for the care and concern you have all shown. I am usually the one standing at the side of the bed asking how someone is. It’s a little bit odd being asked that from the other perspective.

That’s the way life is though, isn’t it? We face unexpected things and we move forward, giving thanks to the One who creates us, sustains us, and calls us to live life fully. The One who gives individuals gifts to help these “earthen vessels” we live in to be repaired and to heal.

In this Lenten season, we are supposed to take time to reflect and consider the paths we are on. Sometimes those paths are interrupted by unexpected things. As we continue toward Easter, we are invited to travel with Jesus and to discern where our own journeys are going. Are we focused enough on the things that really matter? Are we making time for our spiritual journeys in the midst of the rest of our busy lives?

I found out this week that it isn’t up to me all of the time. But what I do know that on this journey I am thankful for the people God puts on this planet that have the capacity to reflect God’s love back to me. Thank you all for being awesome reflectors!

See You Sunday!

Gary

Anticipation.

After a long winter, we are finally seeing signs that the cold is giving way, slowly, to warmer temperatures. I am preparing to store my heavy winter coat again, and prepare for what’ s next. Hopefully, I am preparing for our last cold snap of this half of the year.

Our Lenten season is about the same thing that has been happening around here with our weather. Anticipation. We are called to reflect and admit that we are people who are incomplete until we fully acknowledge the presence of God in our world and in our lives. As we journey to Jerusalem together, we anticipate the story, once again, of meeting Jesus along the way. In our travels, we anticipate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and claim the hope that it gives us for our own lives.

Our communications group is working hard to spread the message that Lake Ozark Christian Church is a great place to experience God’s love and find community. Here in this space, we gather together to worship and then go forth into our world to proclaim the Gospel to the world.

You have already seen the work of our communications group in the videos you have seen in worship and on our Facebook and web pages. Soon, you will see a presence in your mailbox, and will he asked to share a special Easter advertisement card with your neighbors and friends. This card invites people to “Come Home for Easter”, and is an opportunity for each and every person here to invite people to celebrate Easter with us.

Our goal is to have at least 300 people here for our celebration on April 21. I hope you will tell others, and make plans for yourself to be present for the remainder of Lent, Easter, and each and every Sunday as we continue to explore God’s call for our church and our community!

Peace!

Gary

May you find the “quiet center”

We celebrated Ash Wednesday together in our chapel this past Wednesday, kicking off our Lenten journey with a focus on our being “Busy.”  We are all busy, for sure.  But it doesn’t have to be that way all of the time.  We sometimes make conscious efforts to keep ourselves busy…sometimes to the point of dysfunction.  Many times we jam our calendars so full of things that don’t really matter and fail to leave time for things that really do.

Our journey to Jerusalem with Jesus this year calls us to make our faith journey a priority in the busy lives we lead.  The theme between now and Easter will be “Busy:  Reconnecting with an unhurried God.”  It asks us to enter into a time of reflection and confession that we sometimes fail to find the “center” of our lives, and have a need to slow down and re-evaluate the things that are really important and the things that are secondary.

I hope you will join us each Sunday morning, making time for worship and community in your busy life.  If that is impossible, be sure to take some time out of your day to become “un-busy.”  Taking just a moment to be by yourself with your God, can make all the difference in your day!

May you find the “quiet center” in your life today!

Peace!

Gary

What if?

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going!”….is a lyric in the song “Pass It On”.  It has long been a camp favorite, and we sometimes sing it here at LOCC.  The lyric is true in many ways.  It takes a spark to start a campfire.  It takes a spark for internal combustion engines to work.  It also sometimes takes a spark to get a church going too!

I have been encouraged by people stepping up around here to create sparks of energy.  Those sparks generally start with a “What if?” inquiry.

One such spark has come from our communications group.  Tim Tabor approached us back in November and asked, “What if we focused on our social media presence through Advent?”  Using his promotion experience from his years in the real estate business, he has produced and directed short videos to promote LOCC, has created fun experiences for our congregation (do you remember the 125 year old sled in our narthex at Christmas?), and is behind our continuing whodunnit, “Where’s Jesus?” that we are experiencing in weekly installments in worship, social media, and our webpage.

His efforts have been a spark to us, all coming from the heart he has for this church.  Thanks, Tim!

Other sparks are beginning to happen as well.  Can you envision becoming part of a community meal that could be served here each week?  What if we had an after-school program each day of the week instead of just on Wednesdays?

Over the next few months you will hear about our congregation participating in a yearlong self-examination and discernment project called the “Epiphany Program.”  This program is designed to enhance our ministry by having us look at who we are and how we can use our gifts and ministries to be a greater presence for the work of God in our community.  It’s designed to help us find “sparks” for igniting our faith community!

As we progress into the future God has in store for this congregation, we have much to be thankful for.  Look for the opportunities where you can connect, because each and every one of us can make a difference!  Perhaps you can be a spark!

What if we all shared in the exciting future we will share together as we praise God and become agents for change in our world through the “Good News” of Jesus Christ?

Peace!

 

Gary

1 2 3 8