How do we respond when a thing seems right? I read in the Scriptures of people rejoicing and being affirmed. When the disciples are returning and celebrating the chance to do great ministry out in the community, Jesus speaks of the eternal significance of what they are doing (Luke 10). Later, Jesus talked about how heaven rejoices when lost things are found (Luke 15). The Apostle Paul, throughout his letters to churches and leaders, affirms people when they are acting right and thinking right. He encourages others to follow the people doing right, and strongly speaks against following the advice of people who get things wrong too often (Philippians 2-3). We are to rejoice with, and to affirm people when they get things right. Consider it holy encouragement.
Rejoicing and encouraging are certainly my reactions to the work of our Church Council last week. One, among many, of the key initiatives our leaders voted on is the start of partnership with the Pastoral Institute called the Congregational Assistance Program. We know the Pastoral Institute for its excellence in providing care, teaching leadership, and supporting ministry. I’m thrilled that Epworth is entering into a partnership that allows our congregation to tap into these resources even more intimately.
The CAP program is a ministry that provides counseling services, life enrichment education and professional development opportunities for members of congregations and pastors through a contractual relationship with the Pastoral Institute. Our people will now have access to Christian counseling at greatly reduced rates, and priority given when calling to make appointments. The goal is to see congregation members within two days or even sooner. Our church leadership saw the overwhelming asset this offers. This is a new layer of care we have access to. While I love listening and sharing with people, conversations will arise that call for a level of wisdom and expertise that I don’t have. It makes sense in so many ways.
We have great people – our church is literally filled with the great saints of God. But even saints have trouble. This program increases access to care. In addition, our fee is waived for first eighteen months, through a grant the PI received to help churches get on board. Now, that is what I call something right!
I want to rejoice with our church, and affirm our leadership, for consistently seeking the care for our members and live into Jesus’ vision for ministry. This is just one of the ways we are positioning ourselves for the future. Well done, church.