Featured Article: Welcome Our New Associate Pastor


I heard that someone once prayed: “Dear Lord, help me accept change; but not yet. Amen.” Change is a challenge for all, yet change brings with it much promise, hope, and even the joy of surprise. As you all know, your church team is going through many changes and yet remains assured of God’s Presence in our collective tomorrows. Scores of folks have offered to help your church team in any way they are able and for that we are all so grateful. As a team, we know we are blessed to serve the Christ in such a faithful, caring, loving congregation as Christ Church.

Of course, one of our major changes for us all is saying goodbye to John Bletsch and his family and welcoming Kate and Louis Timberlake. As we welcome the Timberlakes, here are some suggestions to help us practice our Church Council’s priority of “radical hospitality” as a congregation regarding receiving a new associate pastor:

  1. Pray for the Timberlakes every day!

  2. Understand that Louis is serving his first appointment. This is an exciting

    time of learning, sharing, growth, and leadership development for him.

  3. Be aware and, therefore, patient, regarding the fact that your church team and leadership will be reconfiguring team assignments to match the

    strengths and gifts we have with our new configuration of teammates.

  4. Know that your team believes that “feedback is the breakfast of champions” and that feedback given in the “You might want to try” or “have you ever thought about trying...” vein, is always far more

    appreciated and heeded than a negative pointing out of mistakes.

  5. Continuously be aware that parsonages are houses owned by the church

    but are the sacred homes of ministerial families.

  6. Act on the fact that parsonage families want and need friends and fun!

    The best way to get to know ministerial families is to include them in fun events. However, also be understanding that ministerial families, from time to time, need to decline some events to have scarce time together as a family. Keep in mind this may be saliently true with Kate in the midst of medical school at Wake Forest.

  7. Spend as much time finding out about your new parsonage family as you do telling them about your family.

  8. Have assurance that Louis will grow and develop and so will you! (John shared this beautifully in his last sermon).

  9. Help all your ministers fulfill their calling by sharing your needs. Your clergy can’t help you if they don’t know what

    you’re going through.

  10. Consider the great gifts to the church universal CUMC has offered the Kingdom in the role we’ve played in shaping

    associate pastors such as John Bletsch, David Hockett, and Bishop Ken Carter. Let us be committed to keep our great track record of being the “seminary in the trenches” of great leadership for the United Methodist Church. Our goal is to one day, in the future, point out that Louis Timberlake once served with us and now is serving the greater church!

In joy,
Michael F. Bailey