A Note from Chris - October 21, 2021

I have been a staff member at a church for 21 years. Some of those staffs were small while others were large. Some of them were incredible teams while others had a good bit of tension. All of them wanted what was best for the church and the Kingdom.

Working at a church is hard. In some ways, it’s an incredible job. You get to be around Christians a lot and you get to do work that really matters and advances the Kingdom. But you also mix work and worship, and it can be challenging for some folks. Coworkers and church people aren’t always as kind and Jesus-like as you’d expect. Turning work “off” when you get home is difficult.

And COVID hasn’t been kind to ministers across the board. If the stats are right, 30% of church ministers will quit since the start of COVID and the end of 2022. 30%!!! That is simultaneously unbelievable and disheartening. The enemy wins when Christian leaders feel they are no longer able to lead God’s church. The toll the pandemic has taken on the lives of ministers is significant. So many feel significant loss, watching ministries and individuals they prayed for, poured into, and loved deeply get swept away in the fallout. Some folks who were consistent and faithful in the church before the pandemic are now radio silence, or worse have disconnected from the church completely. That stings deeply and is hard to recover from for pastors.

This week, 18 of our staff went on a two-day retreat to Pere Marquette State Park to dream, reflect, and plan for 2022 and beyond. While we did a good bit of vision-casting and dreaming about the kind of church God is shaping us to become in the near future, we also just enjoyed being with one another and appreciating the team God has assembled for Cornerstone. We laughed a lot. We played games together. We worshipped together. We read Scripture and prayed and thanked Jesus together. We encouraged each other. We grieved together the losses we have personally experienced. We celebrated the great joy it is to be on staff at this great church for such a time as this.

I love our team. I can safely say that in 20 years of ministry, the team we have today is the most Christ-like, most talented, and most awesome team I have ever been blessed to serve alongside. I would take them anywhere. I would take any hill with them. I hope you love them like I love them. They bust their tails to do their best to lead our church forward in every area. They are not perfect, but they deeply love our Lord, and they deeply love you.

October is designed Pastor Appreciation Month. Some of you have shared words of encouragement with me, and I am truly grateful for that. But my appreciation is for Cornerstone’s ministry staff NOT named Chris. They are incredible, and they are fighting a spiritual battle few understand. I would ask you to do one specific thing:

Pray for our staff. Not just a general “God, help our staff” prayer, but pick someone you associate with or go to our website and snag a picture of someone and pray for them by name. If you are up to it, pray for all of them. Ask God to protect their heart and give them stamina for the long run. Ask God to fill them with joy and passion for ministry and a heart for the church.
We have much work to do moving forward, as the Enemy never sleeps or slumbers. Your prayers are powerful and effective against the voice of darkness that occasionally tries to hover around our ministers. So thank you in advance!

Hope to see you this weekend as we jump into week 2 of Messy Church. See you then!

Yours & His,
Chris VandeLinde

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