Life Together: Fall 2017
A note from the interim general secretary
Her name was Grace. She was about seven years old at the time. Her dad was an elder, and she was helping him pick up empty communion cups after the second service. I paused to thank her for her service. Without missing a beat, she straightened up and said, “Pastor Don, my job is to make your job easier.”
That happened more than ten years ago, but it’s one of the most impactful leadership lessons I’ve ever learned. She said it so matter-of-factly that I knew it was already a way of life for her. Many would say she was serving, not leading, as if those two can be separated. But God used a child to teach me, a seasoned pastor, a leadership lesson that I hope to never forget. After all, Jesus, the one we seek to follow, said that he came to serve, not to be served.
I’ve entered this year as interim general secretary with that attitude. I’ve asked the staff how I can encourage and support them, how I can remove obstacles in their way, how I can clarify issues of confusion, and how I can say things to the church that need to be said. All this because my job is to make their job easier.
I make the same offer to you, the church. In terms of carrying out your involvement in discipleship, leadership, and mission in your local contexts, how can I make your job easier? How can I encourage you to adopt this attitude with those you are leading? Feel free to let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I certainly wasn’t planning on being in this position. I was happily retired when the call came asking me to consider serving as the interim. But once my wife and I became confident this was a call from God, we could see how he had prepared me for such a time as this. I am grateful to the RCA for this privilege and grateful to God for using a child like Grace to give me the right perspective. To God be the glory!
In his service,
P.S. Grace is now a high school senior involved in significant ways in her church, school, and community. May we all be quick to follow those who lead us, no matter their age!
Don Poest is interim general secretary of the Reformed Church in America.