May 9, 2022

 

A Word from Walker

 
Like all of you, I am grateful for the upturn in temperature. I have noticed lately, as I sit on my front porch, that my neighbors are coming out more often. It is like mammals emerging from their winter hiatus. I don’t see them frolicking in their front yards, digging for roots or foraging for berries, but you get the picture.
  
Even if you would say that we don’t, “technically,” hibernate, we do at the very least change with the seasons. Some rotate their wardrobes. Others get out their golf clubs, tennis rackets or fishing equipment and do some sort of preparatory work. Regardless of your interests, everyone makes adjustments in anticipation of a change in the weather.
  
Churches, networks and ministries must do the same. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels or be one-dimensional if we are going to make disciples in an increasingly unstable and secular culture. When it comes to seasonal ministry shifts like this, I think about Backyard Bible, led by Sherri and Rodney Montgomery. During the winter months they camp out at Brookhaven Baptist Church. Once the weather warms up, they relocate to Germanton Park. Their adaptability enables them to do effective year-round ministry.
  
Likewise, the PMBA has to make adjustments. When one door closes in a ministry, God opens another. If we are aware of the emerging opportunity before us and seek his wisdom, we can quickly and intelligently pivot and see ministry occur in an ongoing fashion. Such is the case for our Leadership Development Focus Group. Almost all of what we have done in the past has been about creating excellent events that would encourage pastors and their spouses. With all of the changes that have occurred as a result of the Pandemic, we have discerned a shift away from this and an increasing need for more one-on-one care. We already were offering an intervention model for pastors or their family members in which each church could receive six free counseling sessions at a local Christian counseling center.
  
Although this intervention model has been very successful, over the last several months we picked up on the need for a more proactive method of assistance. We are calling this LeaderCare. In this approach, a pastor or ministry leader participates in eight free sessions with a Christian psychologist and minister, who helps them assess, learn and plan over key areas of their lives. We are just finishing a beta test group of nine people and have gotten great feedback from these participants. We will roll out the revised version of this soon. If you are interested, contact me at the office and we will get you registered.
  
This month also marks the sixth year of my service as your Executive Director. We have seen a lot of changes occur, and God has graced us with many achievements. I want to personally thank all of those who have given of their time, talent and treasure to see the PMBA move forward in our mission. We have much more work to do. Let us know how we can be of further service.
  
Your fellow servant in Christ,
Walker
  

May 9, 2022

 

Craig's Comments 

    
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalm 51:17, NLT
  
Have you ever been broken? I don’t mean having your feelings hurt if someone steals your parking spot at the grocery store or if you didn’t get the gift that you wanted for Christmas…I mean sackcloth and ashes broken before God. That is a whole different feeling. We can’t fully explain it and we may never understand it, but life takes significant turns over which we have little to no control.
 
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Our responses may vary from person to person and in various situations. Some see the writing on the wall and decide that the cards that they have been dealt are always a losing hand while others seem to effortlessly float through life without a care in the world. Sometimes that feeling of being sucker punched or having the wind knocked out of you just makes you want to wave the white flag and say that you just can’t go on any more.
  
Whatever your brokenness looks like, the truth that we neglect often is that God can redeem your broken state. That doesn’t make it pleasant or enjoyable, but God’s Spirit is able to dig deep within our lives and remind us that we have a well of joy that can be found in the deepest moments of life. Corrie Ten Boom reminds us that, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” So no matter how deep your pit feels today, God is able. It may come in the form of an instant solution or require years of walking step by step in obedience despite the fact that you don’t understand.
  
I was reminded recently in the context of a small group Bible study (that I was not leading), how God reached into the brokenness of Mephibosheth who was disabled and practically helpless in an ancient culture of limited assistance. Yet even in his darkest days God reached into his desperation and elevated him to the king’s table! Many of us will never be elevated to the king’s table (nor desire to be for that matter), but God is able to touch our lives in such a way that our circumstances drastically change in the course of a day.
  
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A PMBA pastor has defined his purpose as “navigating brokenness.” When I first heard that, I thought that his statement was an obvious explanation of the ministry and work of a pastor as he relates to others. Months later, I have come to appreciate that it may very well still entail navigating his very own brokenness in the course of his life. Regardless of our desire and/or calling to help others navigate brokenness, there is a real need to still embrace our very own brokenness. 
  
When mobilizing the church to be on mission and even plant other churches, we are mindful of the brokenness of our world as well as our own experiences of brokenness that enable us to help others. God uses each and every valley of your life not to sabotage your progress as much as a type of refiner’s fire that will renew and strengthen us through some of the most difficult times. This strength will be at our disposal through the challenges of life, but also as we seek to help them navigate brokenness. What a refreshing blessing to encounter someone who not only sympathizes with our devastation, but empathizes having walked that road as well. 
  
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Where is God opening doors for you to redirect your seasons of brokenness from your personal growth to the needs of others who need to learn from you? Could it be in some type of direct discipleship of someone in your own circle of influence? Maybe God would open doors for you to mentor someone and shine the light of Christ into a life that is surrounded heavily by darkness. Wherever it may be, don’t let that brokenness go to waste! Put it to good use and see how God might use that “fertilizer” for something beautiful that you never dreamed or imagined.
  
A wonderful example of this will be in our region in the upcoming months. Dean Barley in cooperation with Vineyard Camp and Brim’s Grove Baptist Church will be extending opportunities to PMBA churches to meet Ukrainian young women who are fleeing the devastation of their country by Russia and will be serving in the context of a Christian camp. They will be available to share in churches as well as with families as guests in their homes!
  
If we can help you connect such dots by sharing local opportunities or areas of need in our community, contact us today!
  
Walking in the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings,
  
Craig