Pastor's Note | Saturday, April 26th

David and Goliath. What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear a reference to this epic encounter? The giant Goliath who embodies the threat of the Philistine army as it strikes out against the forces of Israel? David, the shepherd boy who in no way typifies the bravado and might of trained warriors? A classic encounter of might versus stealth. An encounter of human might against the power of God at work in a young man?

David's encounter with Goliath captures something of our continuing experience of battling giants. Giants appear in the form of threats and obstacles that loom large and menacing in our lives. They are giants that call for deep trust in God, for new ways of seeing, and for decisive action. We, as a congregation, are in a time that could be described as battling some threatening giants.

By that I mean we are on the threshold of being dismissed from the PC(USA) and affiliating with ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. We have moved through many obstacles and past many threats. We still have a way to go as the Presbytery of Los Ranchos receives our Joint Solution on April 24th and makes a decision on May 31st. There are challenges in becoming situated in a new denomination. Yet battling this giant will clear the way for us to belong to a body with a strong and clear theology and missional emphasis. These support our call to make disciples and impact our neighbors with the life-giving message of knowing God through Jesus Christ.

In addition to this denominational transition we are facing the giant of a transition of pastoral leadership. Connie and I are looking to our future and sense God directing us to step into new ministry opportunities by transitioning into "retirement" in July 2016. That's why our Session recently employed Don Goehner, a Church Staffing Consultant, to work with pastors, staff, Session members, and many of you in Focus Groups, to process and develop recommendations for how we can best make a transition of pastoral leadership. Don is helping us face the threats and engage the giant of this transition so that Good Shepherd is well served for years to come.

On Tuesday, April 22, the Session received Don Goehner's report. Don had several significant recommendations that were expressed in a series of key questions that the Session must now address. The Session will need some time to process those questions and make some very significant decisions. Over the next three to five weeks, the Session will be heavily engaged in this process. When the significant steps have been completed, the Session will call a Town Hall Meeting to present the report from Don and report on its work on the recommendations and questions he provided. You will be given a full report once the Session has done its job of processing and decision making.

It is an exciting time in the life of this congregation - a new focus on and support of our call to make disciples by re-affiliating with ECO, and an objective and thorough look at how we can best move forward into the future God has for us. As Joshua stood on the banks of the Jordan River preparing to lead the people of Israel into the land promised to them, the Lord spoke these words, "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Let's hear those encouraging words and face the giants with confidence.

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