The month of June is transition time in theUnited Methodist Church tradition. It is the time when appointments are “fixed” at Annual Conference, then become reality for hundreds of clergy and congregations each year. The times are bittersweet. Pastors who have been loved by congregations are bid farewell, and the excitement of making new friendships is considered as new Pastors are welcomed.
This year, I am feeling a mixture of sadness and excitement. I say farewell to my friend and colleague, and Associate Pastor, Jonathan. Many of you will remember last year when we were in the search for additional leadership, Jonathan came on-board on a “temporary” basis. We knew going in that Jonathan had a long-term goal and plan to plant a church, and were prepared to keep Jonathan until that goal came to fruition. It has come earlier than I had hoped, but what a fun time it has been!
Jonathan is a character! He combines an infectious joy and playfulness with a deep spirituality and desire to serve. We have laughed hysterically and we have had serious conversation. He has opened my eyes to many things I wasn’t seeing, and given me great support and encouragement about the directions we are heading. I wish him nothing but the greatest of blessings in his new venture and feel confident that the good work God has begun in him will be completed.
Jesse Smith will be appointed our new Associate Pastor. Jesse will be a tremendous blessing to us as a church and especially to our Student Ministry. He comes to us in a somewhat “unique” way. Jesse has spent the last two years developing a ministry called “Reactivate” church, which will continue, but will blend with Jesse’s work with Huntersville UMC. He will be given primary leadership responsibility for furthering our Student Ministry to 6 through 12 graders. He will also work to help in the other areas of Pastoral Ministry, including preaching, Pastoral Care and small group development. He and his wife, Camille, have two children who keep them on their toes! We will be sharing more information about Jesse soon.
In the meantime, will you join me in giving thanks to God for Jonathan and the work God is doing through him? Jonathan’s last Sunday with us will be June 18. He will be preaching that day and telling us good-bye. We will host a reception for Jonathan after the service and hope that you will express your gratitude to him that day especially.
Soon after that, we will have a time to welcome Jesse and his family. The days ahead are full of promise and opportunity for us as we welcome this new leadership and embrace God’s guidance.