September 2014 Pastoral Letter

Dear Colleyville Presbyterian Church family,

I pray that your fall is going well as many of our families return to a school schedule with all of the excitement as well as challenges those changes bring. It was an honor and delight for me to be installed on August 17th as your pastor. I feel deeply humbled by God’s providence in bringing us together. Please continue to pray for our family as we settle into our new life here in Colleyville. As I’m sure many of you can imagine, there is real grief involved in leaving our work, school, church and neighborhood in St. Louis, even as we look with hope toward what God has prepared for us here.

I want to spend some time over the next year or so using these monthly newsletters detailing and explaining the philosophy of ministry that I bring with me as I step into this new role as your pastor. Of course my philosophy of ministry is something that will always grow and mature as God works in me in new ways, but this gives us at least a place to start (some of the language below is from the document I reviewed with you all in the Sunday School hour the day you voted on whether to call me as your pastor). And of course, I share with you my philosophy of ministry because I hope that we will take on these values together in the years to come.

Before I get into my lesser commitments and priorities as a pastor, I wanted to start with that which is most primary. The most basic commitment I make to you as your pastor is to myself be a personally committed follower of Jesus Christ, with all the joy and cost that commitment requires. I cannot lead others where I am not myself willing to go. And I believe that at the heart of the Christian religion is a covenantally-bound and absolutely personal relationship with the man Jesus Christ—the one whom we confess by faith to be the Son of God and Savior of the World, the one who is risen from the dead and lives now at his Father’s right hand. The basic confession of the Christian man or woman is simply this: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” This bond is our only hope in life and death. All that we do as the church (that is, his body present on earth) flows out of our individual and corporate relationship with Jesus.

There are two main implications of this commitment I want to explain:

1. My life is open to you in regards to whether I am faithfully following Jesus, now and in the years to come. The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Corinth (the church to whom he directed the most words in the New Testament) regarding his pastoral ministry and leadership, said this in 2 Cor. 6:11: “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open.” I desire for my ministry among you to be made, like Paul, with an open heart before you, in honesty and openness. I am a sinful and imperfect man (ask my family or close friends!), but I am also committed to following Jesus with, among and before you. If you ever see me drifting from the path of Christ, do not hesitate to remind me of this promise.

2. The two most prominent pastoral phrases I intend for you to hear from my lips in the years to come are these: First, “You are the beloved of God,” and second, “Follow Jesus.” My hope is that our life together as followers of Christ at Colleyville Presbyterian Church will always spring from our identity as God’s beloved sons and daughters, and we will always remember that our path is set before us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Let’s follow him together.

In the peace of Christ,

Pastor Josh