FROM OUR NEW PASTOR SEAN JOHNSON:
For ten years I served on a few different church staffs as a youth minister. These were all Methodist churches, and that meant inevitably while I was at the church there was a pastoral transition. I remember those times when we were all waiting for the new pastor to arrive, and I remember the question that was on everyone’s mind: “Just what are they going to be like?”
I am well aware that is a question that you, the people of North Judson UMC, have about me. I do look forward to the next several months as we become acquainted with another, worship together, and serve together. However, I do want to begin answering that question on everyone’s mind now.
The appointment process that the Indiana Conference uses is missional in nature. The conference seeks to send the right pastor to meet the missional needs of the church. This is done by having churches fill out a profile and by having potential pastors fill out a profile of their own. It was this profile, with the Spirit’s leading, that helped lead to an appointment at North Judson. Sharing parts of my profile might help provide an answer to what I am like.
One of the questions asked of me was “What church activities do you make sure are a part of congregational life?”
This was, in part, my answer: “There are three areas that I think are vital to include in the activities of any church. First, making disciples requires intentionally deepening the discipleship of those already present. This means that intentional learning needs to be a part of church life. Second, churches need to serve outside the walls of the building. Meeting the needs and serving the community should be a vital part of the activities that a church engages in. Finally, churches are meant to be communities built around God’s love. This is done through supporting one another in tough times. It is also done by creating space where the people of the church come together with no other purpose than to be friends and love one another. At the same time, these events need to also be intentionally open and inviting to others.”
The final question on the profile was “What should a new church know about you?” This is what I listed: “I am fully committed to building bridges that connect the local church to the community and world around it. In whatever context I am doing ministry, I see reaching out to the community and inviting the community in to be a big part of that ministry.”
As we begin this new adventure in ministry together, I am truly excited. My entire family is really looking forward to being part of the North Judson community, and we are full of enthusiasm to be part of a church that is already doing so much good work in the community.