pecaspers: a Blog in transition

December 13, 2012

Prospective Pastor Questionnaire – Part 9

9. How do you believe the church should relate to the community, and what ideas do you have to make the church “relevant” to the community?

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare (Jeremiah 29:4-7).

Like the people of God in exile in Babylon, the church is the people of God living in exile in the world while we wait for Christ to return in ultimate judgment and renewal. Though we are strangers in a strange land, we are to work for the good of the community by being productive members of it. Additionally, as Jesus’ body, we are to do what Jesus does: healing the sick, feeding the hungry, setting people free from their bondage, caring for the poor, comforting widows and orphans in their distress, etc. As the IMB is trying to remind us, we are Jesus’ heart, hands, and voice to those around us and to the ends of the earth.

Now, I don’t know your community. I can’t tell you what I would lead the church to do to make the church “relevant” to the community, because I don’t know the community. That said, one of the first things I would do as pastor is begin visiting every home within walking distance of the church building to find out who really lives around us and how we might meet their needs (sharing the gospel with those same people goes without saying). Another thing I would do is spend the first year as pastor watching your church just do what it’s always done, so that the next year we might evaluate together whether those things are actually making an impact and how can they be improved. Every church has things they do well and reasons for doing the things they do, and I’m not going anywhere with a notion that I’m going to start changing things immediately just for the sake of changing things. Likewise, there are usually reasons for not doing certain things, and your help in knowing what we don’t do and why will be invaluable. I’ll come in preaching the whole counsel of God from day 1, but we would be on a slow track for making any changes not demanded by biblical faithfulness.

Ultimately, the church is the people who gather, and so the church as an institution shouldn’t have to do anything special to be “relevant” to the community. If we are each living our individual lives as mature Christians who shine a gospel light into their personal circles of influence, then we will impact people wherever we meet them. That’s what Jesus did; He met people where they were. My primary focus will be on building healthy Christians who will make up a healthy church. Where there is life and health there is always reproduction. As we multiply, we will naturally exert a more beneficial influence on the community. Which is not to say that I’m against evangelistic events or ongoing outreach through regular community service, I’m all for them. Yet, all that the church does together to minister to the community should be the fleshing out of what the Holy Spirit gives the church to do together.

January 14, 2011

Job Hunt 2011

I need a new job. No, wait, I mean that I need another job.

Things have gotten far too tight around the Caspers house, financially speaking, so it’s time for Daddy to get another job. You might be wondering what sort of job I might be looking for, and if you are, then read on my friend. Read on.

1) Pharmacy Tech
What? Paul, you really want to count pills, stock shelves, double-check medicine bottle labels? No, not really. It’s not a dream scenario. I’ve already applied to the CVS in Tallassee because…well…they had a sign. Jobs are scarce around here, and the CVS would just about be in walking distance from my house. I could totally bike it if/when I fix my old bike. Anyway, it would put me serving the public, which is good. It would be good money without smelling funny when I get home (no deep fat fryers or beef patties involved). And CVS has pretty amazing employee discounts. I’d like being a pharm tech. I’d probably learn a ton that I’d be able to use in ways untold in the future.

2) Food Pantry Manager
Do wha…? The Elmore County Food Pantry needs somebody to…umm…manage things. They need somebody to work with the volunteers and serve those in need. Do you know who has a generous helping of the spiritual gift of service? The author of this blog, that’s who. I could really dig this one. BONUS: It’s a 30 hour-a-week position that would mostly be on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Therefore, never a “Mr. Caspers, we’re going to need you to come in on Sunday or you’re fired.” “I guess I’m fired then.” Also, it would be nice to know I’m helping others who are having even more trouble making ends meet than we are (and I don’t mean that in any sort of “At least I’m not as hard up as they are” kind of way because I’m about to be). I found this one tonight, I’ll apply tomorrow.

3) Daylight Donuts
Are you serious? There’s not one of those in Tallassee! Yet, my friend. There’s not one of those in Tallassee yet. See. According to the article at that link, they could be open by February or March. Yes, I do need a job sooner than that, but if I get in on the ground floor of the new location they’ll have to train me somewhere. So I figure I train in Auburn ASAP, help coordinate the installation of the new store–I even know where they should put it–and then I am one of the Assistant Managers who receives inventory and then works three other days a week. BONUS: Free left over donuts for the youth on Sunday. DOUBLE BONUS: Super-excellent place to meet with folks for discipleship since I’d be able to discount us both/all. This is the brass ring in my book. This is the Holy Grail of chubby part-time-youth-pastor-turned bi-vocational-youth-pastor jobs. (That would have all been one perfectly acceptable word in German, just so you know.) Our Mayor posted about this on his facebook page, I messaged him about getting their contact info, he said he’d get it to me on Monday, but Monday was all icy and stuff. I’ll message him again…DONE. (I love the fact that I live in a small town where anybody who wants to be can be facebook-friends with the mayor and that it’s actually him, it’s not just some staffer in his office posting stuff on his behalf.)

Pray for me in this. These are the big three. There is also the outside possibility that I could do freelance photography and/or writing for the area newspapers, but that’s a long shot seeing as I have no camera of my own to speak of and no professional writing experience. Slightly less outside–think in the front yard as opposed to out at Chewacla–is the possibility of getting on with one of the local radio stations. That could happen since I have a couple of years of on air host/production experience and a degree in communication (everyone assumes it’s the same as mass communication, who am I to judge?), but I get the feeling it’s unlikely.

Whatever comes of this, it’ll be something new–a definite transition.
And this puts me on track with my “at least one post per week” resolution for 2011. w00t!

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