It’s going to be a big change for Peter! For the last 5 years he has been in Oxford, studying chemistry, and then working at a large student church. On Friday 23rd August he is moving to Henley and begins as our ministry trainee for children’s ministry. We’re thrilled to have Peter to help coordinate and develop our vital work of discipleship with our children and trust that the Lord has prepared many good works for him here in Henley (Eph 2:10).
Can I please make a big plea to us all as a church family to welcome Peter with warmth and enthusiasm? Moving from a big established student church in Oxford to a small new family church in Henley is a big change for a young single guy. Here are 4 ways that we can make that transition as easy as possible for Peter.
1. Pray regularly for Peter
If you have a regular prayer list, please will you add Peter to it? It’s a great thing to regularly pray for Christian leaders of all shapes and sizes, and ultimately it is to God we look to help Peter settle happily and fruitfully into this new role.
2. Think ‘how can I bless and encourage Peter at this time of change’?
In Romans 12:13 we are encouraged to “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” What could you do to share with Peter at a time of transition and change, and all the associated needs that brings? It’s often the regular small gestures of friendship and support that make a lasting difference. Remember that first and foremost Peter is not an ‘employee’, but a fellow believer in need of the same Christian community, friendship, encouragement and support as any other Christian.
3. Invite Peter over
No need for a song or a dance or a high-brow dinner party. Just invite Peter over for stuff you’re already doing as a way of properly getting to know him, and giving him the chance to properly get to know you. Whether that’s kids tea, and evening meal, a weekend trip to the park, an outing on the river, or whatever. And try to avoid the ‘one hit wonder’ mentality that has someone over and then thinks ‘great, done that now...’
4. Encourage Peter in his ministry
One of the verses that Christian leaders are sometimes sheepish about quoting in Hebrews 13:17, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” Whilst Peter is not arriving as pastor of the congregation, he will have a position of responsibility, under Sam’s oversight and guidance. It will be a learning journey for him. As he grows and develops in his role, can I encourage us to make his work a joy for him, not a burden? We can do this by being quick to encourage and build Peter up in all the ways he serves and ministers.