There is a Season (turn, turn, turn)

Hello GRC!

Last week I was away, but not really. I stayed out of the office, cleared my schedule of any evening commitments, and took one of my two annual study leave weeks. Some of you veterans know what this means because of old Voice of Grace articles, but not everyone does. I’m taking the time to share about my study leave, because there are a lot of new faces here at GRC! I’m also sharing because it was one of the more unique study leave weeks, not because of what I ‘did’ but because of how I’m thinking.

What is a study leave? Well, it’s a work-week, for sure! I spend time in God’s Word, in prayer, in thought, and being stimulated/shepherded/challenged by the handful of books I’m able to read. It’s a quiet week, for sure! I spend it on the couch, reading, jotting things down and pausing to pray. To some of you, that sounds incredibly boring. But for my calling to spiritual leadership, it’s SO critical that I step back from the busy-ness of day-to-day and week-to-week ministry responsibilities. I do this in order to recalibrate my mind and heart, discern the Lord’s will for the future direction of the church, and reassess my role within the body of Christ. Of course, some of that I do on a daily and weekly basis, but stepping back and clearing the calendar enables a depth of thought, prayer and introspection. It also ends up being deeply refreshing to my soul!

Why do I say this year was more unique? Well, GRC has been on quite a unique and wild ride, for quite a long time! This year, we’re even turning 20 and planning a big celebration! For all 15 of the years I’ve been here, there has been constant change and growth. Yet amidst this growth, we’ve never paused in prayer that God would raise up additional lay leaders and volunteers. We’ve also been understaffed for most of that time! I liken this to buying sneakers for little kids – it seems that you never catch up! For the last 5 years, the change and activity has involved two Vision Campaigns, three hires of full-time core-ministry staff, and an earth-shifting transition from Teaneck to Glen Rock! It’s been exhilarating and tiring, but in a great-adventure-weariness sort of way.

But here’s where I find myself as pastor, at the beginning of 2019: I’m not sure I really know well, how to lead the church that GRC is today. What I do know, is that I need to trust God, seek His wisdom more than ever, lean on my fellow elders, and reinvent myself, so to speak. Don’t hear me wrong. I’m not going anywhere. Nor am I losing sleep at night. I’m eager to do this reassessing, leading, re-prioritizing and managing through change when our church is healthy and growing. Truly, I’ve never been more encouraged and excited about what God is doing, about how the Spirit is moving, than RIGHT NOW!

Would you pray for me, and for the rest of GRC’s Session (our formal spiritual leadership body of 7 elders) as we pray, deliberate, and seek counsel? We’re always doing that, but we desire even greater clarity of spiritual vision to keep our eyes on Jesus, in light of:

  • Our new location with new missional and mercy opportunities
  • The new West Hudson Presbytery that GRC just recently helped to launch
  • Our plan to re-engage in church planting
  • The leadership-capacity we have in place to equip, develop and reproduce pastoral and lay-leadership in the church, for the world
  • What we believe is a movement of the Spirit in and among us

With you, I long for more of Christ, our bride-groom, who is making us holy, cleansing us by the washing with water through the word, and presenting us to himself as a radiant church Ephesians 5:26-27).

Grace be with you,

Peter Wang is our Senior Pastor.