Upon return from an overseas trip, I noticed that my phone was having a number of connecting issues. I tried to turn it off and on, but to no avail. Finally, I decided to call Apple for advice. After describing the issues, the technical support person suggested an upgrade of the Operating System. While I was gone, there had been an upgrade that resolved network issues and I had missed it. Needless to say, I upgraded the system and my phone was as good as new.

A congregation between pastors has the opportunity to perform a missional system upgrade. This is made possible by the blank slate that an interim pastor provides and to which he invites the congregation to re-imagine its mission, while taking into consideration the demographic and social changes that have taken place since the commencement of ministry under its previous pastor. This is where we at Good Samaritan Lutheran Church of Lexington Park, in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, find ourselves. Our conversations following last Sunday’s worship convened by the Transition Team reflected our understanding of the need for a missional system upgrade and I am excited to be part of this wonderful task. As I mentioned to each of the four groups as I made rounds, the template for a missional system upgrade is clearly stated in Acts 1:8 where it says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

  1. The Power (When the Holy Spirit has come upon you)

The power that will enable us to do the work we are being called will be given by the Holy Spirit, not the Pastor or leadership. This is important to keep in mind as we re-imagine what Good Sam will look like in the years ahead.

  1. The Purpose (And you will be my witnesses)

The Church exists for one main reason – to testify to the reality of God. Anything else is icing on the cake. We don’t exist for the sake of adding Lutheran presence, although that is important, we rather exist to introduce people to the goodness of God.

  1. The Place (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth)

Jerusalem was the hometown. So, we start with ourselves and strengthen our congregation from within by enhancing learning, fellowship, and support. Thus energized, we will look outside the walls of the congregation and cast the vision as near as the Food Pantry and as far as global missions as resources enable us.

Let us take advantage of the transition and imagine big things for our congregation while relying on the never failing presence of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Elijah