Oadby EC, Leicester
The marquee, jumbo-size fridge, tables and chairs were all in place; the preparation rooms abuzz with talk of ham, cream cheese, quiches, tuna – with or without sweet corn; and guests arriving from near and far, including a bus-load from Walton Evangelical Church in Chesterfield.
‘It’s a bit like getting ready for a wedding!’ we said. A local church and its pastor were making promises together, which they intend to keep with God’s help. Oadby church was joyfully welcoming its new pastor Adam Broughton and his family from Walton.
It was good to find that Adam’s wife Fiona and their children, Tom and Sophie, had each chosen a hymn in the service. Members of Walton church also took part in the various readings.
Simon Robinson, Walton’s minister, gave a valuable talk from Jeremiah 17, pointing out that a pastor needs to have the right values and be a man of God, who asks himself three questions.
Where does my strength lie – in other people or in God (vv. 6-7)? What is the state of my heart? Never underestimate the deceitfulness of sin in the heart (vv. 5, 9). And upon whom or what am I focussing? It should be Christ, the chief Shepherd (vv. 12-13).
The act of induction was led by Chris Kelly and he also gave the charge to the Oadby church. He directed our attention as a church to Psalm 127, reminding us that God does not do for us what we can do for ourselves, but we must look to the Lord to do the things we cannot do.
For instance, it is no use pleading with God to bring people in to the services if we have not actively befriended and invited them. On the other hand, we must ask him to send his Spirit to convert those who hear the gospel, because only he is able to do that (v. 1).
As a church we should labour at building with living stones (v. 1); be watchmen guarding the truth (v. 1); feed the people (v. 2) with worthwhile spiritual food; make and shoot arrows – that is, spiritual children trained to continue God’s work (vv. 3-4).