On June 28th the members of Lake Nokomis called the Rev. Sara Spohr as their next senior pastor. Amid the challenges of quarantine and social unrest and election year rancor, this development marks a new era of hope and energized ministry. Pastor Spohr will strive to serve to the best of her gifts and passion.
However, each member of this church also has a part in seeing that this ministry succeeds. It is not only up to Pastor Sara, each LNL member has a role in building this church. I offer some realistic actions that members can practice for the best possible future of this church.
- Be patient. Pastor Sara will need time to get to know members personally, to build relationships, to understand the uniqueness of this congregation, to hear where God is leading this church. The first months will be overwhelming for her as she learns names, catches up on church issues and plans programs, along with all of the regular pastoral duties.
- Take up the slack. Pastor Sara will be juggling a lot of urgent tasks at the start. As she gets up to speed, members can help by taking on some of the load.
- Give the benefit of doubt. Pastor Sara will be learning the ways of this congregation and will make mistakes along the way. Strive to understand where she is coming from. Assume she has best intentions at heart. Differences of opinion are learning opportunities and provide moments to build relationships.
- Take initiative in getting to know each other. Pastor Sara wants to know each of you personally. It is a gracious gesture to take the lead in personally welcoming her and building a relationship with her.
- Be curious. She will bring fresh ideas. A pastor engaging members and the community will generate fresh ideas. Explore with God and with each other the possibilities of new ways.
- Support the rest of the staff. The pastor and church staff are a team. The morale and health of the team supports the pastor in her service to the congregation. Supporting and caring for staff allows the pastor to function at her best.
- Pray thanks for this pastor. God brought Pastor Sara as gift to this congregation. Gratitude changes everything, especially when you may not see things the same way. Thanking God for this person sets the whole conversation and relationship in a different place, in a holy place.
- Care for the pastor. Check in on how she is faring. It makes a world of difference in knowing that members care. The role of pastor can be lonely. Receiving card and notes reminds a pastor that she has your support.
- Choose to love. This will be easy, at least at first. Your pastor is called out of God’s love for this church and God’s love for each person. The Call Committee recommended this person because she is easy to love. In times of change, times of disagreement, times of growth, the strongest foundation for success is love.