By Carl Stagner
Similar experiences, common challenges, and the same drive to change the world for Jesus’ sake. There are more than 150 senior/lead pastors in the Church of God between the ages of twenty-five and forty. The possibilities for networking, support, and learning from each other are endless. But until this year, there has not been an opportunity to connect. Senior/lead pastors between twenty-five and forty have received an invitation from Jim Lyon for an informal luncheon designed especially with them in mind.
On Tuesday, June 24, during the convention lunch break, the Young Senior Leader’s Gathering of the Church of God will offer these young lead pastors free lunch and a forum for dialogue. Matt Anderson (of McDowell Mountain Community Church in Scottsdale, Arizona; pictured above, left) and Steve Southards (of Indian Creek Community Church in Olathe, Kansas; pictured above, right) will host the event. Jim Lyon will also be present at the luncheon. In a letter to the invitees, he reflects on his days as a young pastor.
“When I was a young man (and, yep, I’m an old guy—pushing sixty-two now), my ambition was not to serve in the pastoral ministry: it was anything but that. I went to law school, landed a plum job at Northwest Airlines, and imagined myself ultimately in politics. The Lord had other plans, though, and through a long train of events, I found myself, at age thirty-one, staring at an open door to become the senior pastor of my home church in Seattle. I walked in. And, well, here I am.”
Invitees must RSVP by June 1 to Becky Arthur at BArthur@chog.org. If you’ve not yet registered for the Church of God Convention, take care of that first at www.chogconvention.org.
“Every story has its own twists and turns, mine like yours,” Jim continues. “But, there are some common threads in all of our journeys: we need the confidence, friendship, understanding, and empowerment that only a cohort of generational peers, on similar roads, can bring. The pastoral ministry is the noblest and highest calling this side of heaven; it can be exhilarating and totally satisfying; it can also be a stretch, a trial, and exhausting. In every moment, up or down, knowing you are not alone—that others are also climbing with you—well, only a “road-to-Damascus” intersection with Jesus could be better.