With Pastors Audrey & Tim on maternity/paternity leave, it’s a good time to look back at the very first Pastor’s Blog of their tenure here.
“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”
-- Philippians 1:3-6
Pastor Tim and I have been overwhelmed by the amount of hospitality and graciousness we have received as we moved to Hagerstown and began the first steps of our ministry. The very first day we arrived, the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren shared a witness with our neighbors. One neighbor in particular was amazed by the number of people that were there at our new apartment, ready to move us in. We’ve been so grateful for the graciousness we’ve received as we begin to learn more about this Church and about what it means for us to be in ministry here. We do truly thank God every time we think of you and we thank God for the witness you are sharing through your hospitality and graciousness.
In Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi, he not only offers advice and correction, but he offers affirmation for the work they have been and are doing. God is clearly at work in the church of Philippi and they are continuing to work at sharing the gospel, even without the physical presence of the one who began their movement.
The word “gospel” means good news. Paul never clearly states exactly what he means by good news in his letter to the Philippians, but we can assume that the good news is intimately connected to the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Paul, a born and bred Jew, Jesus offered freedom from law and freedom from the need to earn righteousness. Faith in Christ was enough to make one righteous. For this reason, Paul called all to share in the gospel out of their thanksgiving for this freedom.
Paul praises the church in Philippi for their sharing in the gospel; for their sharing in the good news. Paul was the type of leader that inspired the church to live into the good news and to live out of the good news. This type of leadership is our hope for our ministry here at the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren; that we can encourage and build up this church to share in the gospel.
Chris Bowman, current pastor at the Oakton Church of the Brethren and soon to be pastor at the Manassas Church of the Brethren, wrote this in a recent blog about the Vital Ministry Journey; “Ministry is the calling of every Jesus-follower. Our baptism is our ordination. Our personal giftedness shared in community is our training. Wherever God sends us is our ‘mission field’ as God calls us to do our part in the unfolding Kingdom of Heaven with whomever God sends to us.”
We are confident of this, that the everlasting God who began a good work here in the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren will bring it to completion through all of us!