September 9, 2016
All clergy and laity in East Ohio can benefit from these words that Bishop Tracy S. Malone shared with the class of new clergy during her time with them at orientation.
“You have been called, and you have been appointed and anointed to serve the Lord and the church for such a time as this – and so I celebrate your calling. I celebrate your readiness to serve, and I celebrate your passion that you are going to bring to your ministry.
“As I awoke this morning, three words came to my spirit. The first word was love. My prayer is that you will love the people. Love the people to whom you have been entrusted to serve. We know that ministry is a sacred trust, and it’s a gift. My prayer is that you will love the people and that you will show them the love of Christ Jesus.
“The other word that came to my spirit is lead. We are all followers of Christ but as pastors and as shepherds of the flock we are called to be lead followers, that we will model for the people what it means to be a follower of Christ, what is means to be a servant leader. We will lead through our teaching, through our preaching, and through our serving. So love the people, lead the people.
“My other prayer for you and the word that was put in my spirit for you today is to listen. Listen to the voice of God. Have a discerning spirit to know the will and the way of God in each and every moment of your ministry. God still speaks, and God desires for his servants to always be listening. God will show you the way and will give you the wisdom no matter what circumstance, no matter what situation, no matter what opportunity. Listen to the voice of God, but also listen to the needs and to the cries of the people. When I say people, not just those within the walls of the church, but people within the community in which your church resides. As you are appointed, you are appointed as a pastor not just to that church, you are appointed to that community – for that is your mission field.
“Love, lead, and listen and the Lord will, and the Lord shall, bless you, bless your leadership, bless the laity within the church, for all of you are being equipped and being empowered by the Holy Spirit to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I want you to know that I will be praying for you. I will be praying that God will bless your ministry and keep a desire within you to live fully for the Lord but also to live fully in service for the kingdom.
“So again, I celebrate with you, I’m excited for you, and I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you better. May the Lord bless and keep you this day and forever more. May God be the glory. Amen.”
Executive Secretary to the Bishop
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