By Larry Short
It’s been several years since we elders started writing the weekly “Last Word” in order to more effectively communicate with the body at Elim what the Lord is doing here … and this morning I’m feeling a little wistful about the fact that this may be my final “Last Word,” at least for a little while! (I really do enjoy writing these! I counted recently and I believe this is the 120th Last Word that has been published … not all of them by me, of course!)
Why so wistful? you might ask. Well, the Lord has been doing something interesting in me ever since I preached (about a month ago) on the topic of “margin.” I shared then how He was challenging me to increase the margin in my life … the space “around the edges” of work, ministry and play, time available for the Lord to do a better work in me and through me. Time for just me and Him to continue to get to know each other better, as well as for me to become better equipped to do whatever He is calling me to do.
I pointed out that sometimes, like Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, we need to learn to say “no” to good things in order to make more room for the best things. As a result of this conversation with the Lord in my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to focus my ministry efforts here at Elim. As a result I’ve informed the elders that I would be stepping off the board (before the completion of my term) after this month.
I mentioned focus … I think you all are aware that the Lord has brought Darlene and I a truly fruitful and fulfilling ministry in the form of Pulse, Elim’s young adults ministry. We now have an awesome group of young adults, college and career-aged, who are sold out for Jesus and getting engaged in ministry and outreach with Elim. Between the two of us, we are mentoring five of them (and many of the others are being mentored by yet other leaders at Elim). We have nearly 50 on our roster, but at least 20-30 of these are “core” young adults, actively involved in Pulse. Even larger churches in our area frequently struggle to maintain healthy young adults groups, so we feel incredibly blessed by what God is doing here!
We are also in the midst of one of those many periods of transition, as many (three couples) of our young adults have recently married, and others are getting near the age where they may be transitioning out soon (into other groups and ministries). These faithful have been with us long and we will really miss them!
And of course God is bringing in new young adults, including some high school graduates. So, after praying this through, Darlene and I do feel like this really is a season where we need to focus all of our best efforts on what God is continuing to do in this group, through leading Bible studies and prayer times; book studies; special events; and mentoring. Your prayers as we seek to “up the ante” with Pulse are much needed and appreciated!
Fortunately right now I can depart the Elder Board with a clear conscience, as it is perhaps in a stronger position than it’s been in a long time. Even with me stepping off and Mike being called to pastoral ministry, the Board still is a very strong group of men who are passionate about seeking God’s best for Elim. Pastor Martin has been challenging us all to step up our board involvement to meet the need for strategic preparation for the days ahead, and I’m convinced that this awesome and committed group of guys, under Dan’s leadership, are more than up to the challenge.
Anyway, I just wanted to say I really appreciate all of you (especially those of you who read these Last Words!) … your prayers and support; as well as the privilege and opportunity of serving with the elders these past few years (as well as the six years before my constitutionally required one-year hiatus!). Now, off to a little Grandpa vacation with Annabelle, for some real “margin” time! Be back soon!