I’ll admit it. When watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, I still tear up when Linus steps to center stage and offers his soliloquy from Luke 2:
“And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.’”
I may have noticed before, but this year it stood out how the angels’ message sets fear against joy, how it fights fear with joy, if you will. Don’t be afraid, because I have something for you to be joyful about.
And it works. As the story ends, we hear that the shepherds went on their way rejoicing.
I’ll admit it. I have fear. As I have moved among Kentucky Disciples, I have made no secret of what keeps me up at night. It’s the feeling that we are not able to provide pastors to congregations that need someone who will serve on a part-time or bi-vocational basis. I have looked at the list of churches on the search and call page and wondered: What can we do?
When I looked at it from the other side, though, it became obvious that we also have reason to be joyful. Of the 245 active clergy with standing in the Region, 46 are serving as part-time or bi-vocational ministers. In addition, 20 ministers in retirement are continuing to offer active ministry in congregations across the state.
When you give to the Christmas Offering, you are not supporting a person, a staff, or an office. You are helping all of us, Disciples in Kentucky, to bless the ministry of those bi-vocational pastors, to lift up those who continue serve in retirement, all because they love Christ and his church.
When you give to the Christmas Offering, you are looking at the ministry of the Region from the other side. You choose not to fear what we lack, but rather to celebrate what God has provided.
Please join us in blessing and supporting ministry for all of the clergy and congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Kentucky.
Dean Phelps, Interim Regional Minister