Five years ago yesterday, I walked in to Trinity Lutheran Church for the first time as its pastor.
From one perspective seems like those five years have just flown by. And at the same time, it seems like I’ve been there forever.
But five years is something of a milestone, and so I’ve been doing a little bit of reflecting in the last day or two as I’ve thought back over these last five years (I even went back and re-read my first sermon at Trinity):
- The warmth and hospitality of my welcome to Trinity was truly overwhelming. And the culture of hospitality that I experienced has been lived out in so many different ways.
- On my first day, I opened a desk drawer, and the first thing I saw was a bottle of Advil. I thought to myself “that’s not a good sign.” That bottle of Advil still sits in my desk. (Hmmm…question…does Advil have an expiration date?)
- When I first arrived, I had this sense that Trinity was a place that was ready. Pastor Peter had done a masterful job leading the congregation through a dreaming process, and it felt to me like there was pent-up energy. It was as if the congregation was just waiting for someone to press the “go” button. Together, we got to do that. It has been so much fun!
- Trinity is a church where God is the subject of people’s sentences. People in the congregation talk about God, and the role that God plays in their lives. There is a vocabulary of faith here that I think is pretty unique.
- Trinity has the best staff that I could imagine. The combination of gifts, talents and passion for ministry that our staff exhibits on a daily basis overwhelms me.
- Together, we had the opportunity to create a five year plan, and then to live in to it. And as I look at the “list” of things we’d hoped to accomplish in these five years, we have nailed almost all of them. I’m really energized for the next long-range strategic plan we’re working on. (We hope to make it public for feedback in October!)
As I look back over the last five years, the word that best describes my feelings tonight is “gratitude.”
First and foremost, thanks to my family for putting up with my strange schedule.
I am thankful to Trinity’s staff: Amanda, Kris, Cindy, Charles, Sheri, Chris, Kate, Tanyia, Polly, Barb, Amy, Erin, Jessica, Nancy, Brenda, Karin, Karen, Shelby, Heidi, Jane, Katie, Andrea, Rebecca, Tammi, Mike, Genelle, Jodie, Cody, Jim, Bob, Janean, Bonnie, Dave, Ben, Matt, Dave, and Gretchen, Erin, Lynn, Elena, Sam…you are all amazing people. Thank you for all that you do.
I am grateful to Trinity’s council, commissions and ministry teams. You are people of vision and watching God work within you brings me amazing amounts of joy.
And most of all, I am thankful to God for this call and this community. I love coming to work every day, and I feel very blessed to be here. In my scripture reading today, I came across Psalm 16: 7-11.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
or let your faithful one see the Pit.
You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
May God bless us all as we move together into the next five years and beyond!