A Message of Hope
(Attributed to Oscar A. Romero Archbishop of San Salvador)
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.
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Next – my transition to a new role as Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Western Theological Seminary, Holland MI.
Over the past 5 years, I’ve loved my work as a Teaching Pastor at City Church San Francisco. I started our counseling center and co-founded Newbigin House of Studies, with its Newbigin Fellows program and Master of Divinity program, which exists because of a partnership with Western Sem. This transition is a next step in an extraordinary partnership between City Church SF and Western Sem – a relationship which allows us to offer graduate theological education which benefits from the best the academy has to offer and the best a thriving urban, missional church has to offer.
This transition will allow me to teach what I know best – pastoral care and counseling – while remaining a Senior Fellow at Newbigin House, continuing to strengthen the relationship between the church and seminary. I make this transition with the blessing of my good friends and colleagues – Fred Harrell and Scot Sherman – who’ve spent countless hours processing the wisdom of this transition for all of us. In the end, we think this is a ‘next step’ for Newbigin House, and we’re all quite excited for what’s next.
With this partnership, we’ve started a Master of Divinity program and we’re about to launch an MA program, both of which combine the resources of the seminary and City Church San Francisco. I’m excited to focus my energy on teaching what I know best, while continuing to write as a Reformed Christian interested in the intersection of psychology and theology. I’m looking forward to writing and speaking more in this area, and am quite excited that Eerdmans has picked up my next book specifically designed for leaders and pastors.
Please pray for my family as we transition to Holland, MI, in late June, and for City Church and Western Seminary as we further strengthen and develop this unique partnership. Exciting times for all!