Posterity Will Serve Him

I have already exceeded the time I expected to spend as your Interim pastor. It has all been good.

The first year was the source of great joy, as Elayne and I revived old friendships and formed new ones. A friend who visited with us before Covid-19 shut us down recently said, “Worth, I was impressed. You have a great congregation.” I told her that she was right and that I would pass on the compliment. Now I have.

I hope you know that you are special. It matters how you see yourselves. If you see yourselves as a church on the decline, you will decline, but if you see yourselves as a church brought together to God to serve the present age into the future that is coming to us in him, then the possibilities are unlimited. Remember, God has a way of choosing the least and the least likely and then doing great things through them. Of course, you are far from the least. If you were a developing congregation, any pastor would be encouraged to serve as your pastor. He or she would be stunned by your resources. Your location and your physical plant are second to none. Very few churches of your size can equal your commitment to stewardship. And you possess Spiritual gifts and dedication. Spiritual gifts without dedication mean nothing. Gifs coupled with dedication can change the world.

The last year has been more of a challenge. There is no doubt that Covid-19 has changed us. On the minus side, it has driven us out of our sanctuary and kept many of us at home more than ever. On the plus side, it has forced us to take our worship out of our church building and spread it around. Physically, we have taken it outside to hold communion, pass-out a lovefeast in a box, and collect for Sunnyside Ministry. That has been a witness to our neighborhood. Electronically, we have shared our worship as far north as Massachusetts, as far west as California, as far south as Florida, and as far east as Southport and Holden Beach, N.C. We took an online collection as part of our 2020 Virtual lovefeast, and it equaled the two physical services we held in 2019.

Some of us are Old Dawgs, but these Old Dawgs have learned some new tricks.

I don’t know how long I will get to continue as your Interim. The P.E.C. has suggested six months to a year after our return to normalcy. Only God knows when that will be. I can’t say how long I will be here as an interim, but I can tell you what I want to accomplish as long as I am. I want us to reach people who have never been reached and attract new members into our congregation. You can’t do one without doing the other. In Psalm 22, King David utters a prophecy that was fulfilled in the life, death, resurrection, and proclamation of Jesus the Messiah. He said:

Posterity will serve him; future generations will
be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance
to a people yet unborn.

For 2,000 years, this has been so. If we are to continue proclaiming God’s deliverance to future generations and a people yet unborn, we must do at least three things.

1. We must move beyond race and gender. In Acts 2, St. Peter quotes the prophet Joel saying that, in these last days, God has poured out his Spirit on all flesh. “Red and yellow, black and white,” all are precious God’s sight! Fries has taken the first steps toward realizing this vision. Can we take those that remain? Likewise, Peter says that God has poured out his Spirit on his menservants and his maidservants so that our sons and our daughters will prophesy and speak the truth, whether to those of low estate or to the powerful. Moravians have long had women leaders, pastors, and bishops. We have gender equality. The next step is gender identity equality. The church as a whole is obviously not ready for gay marriage as a sacrament. However, I know from speaking to some of our most conservative members that it is prepared to agree that everybody–gay or straight, is better off in a committed relationship than they are living promiscuously. I fear that if we refuse to recognize this, we place a burden that is too big to bear on the shoulders of many. Personally, I have seen too many lives destroyed because the burden has become too great.

2. We must also move beyond age. Peter quotes Joel saying that God has poured out his Spirit on all flesh so that our young men (and women) can see visions, and our old men (and women) can dream dreams. Let’s be honest. We need the wealth, experience, and time of the old. When I was your pastor for the first time, a group of seven retired men radically altered this church. They built a 23 rank pipe organ in what we called the basement, and, as they did, they transformed the church from a “Sunday only” congregation to a “seven day a week” congregation. We also need the young! St. Paul wrote to his young friend Timothy, saying, “Let no one despise your youth.” And in his autobiography, “Call Sign Chaos,” General James N. Mattis, U.S.M.C., wrote that if a leader is older than forty-five, he or she must gather to themselves younger leaders to fully understand the present and prepare for the future. Just before the pandemic hit, with the help of Ben Lamb, our Board decided that we wanted Fries to set up a program for mentoring young men and women from all over this city. Say, for example, that we had a program with twelve sessions, each dedicated to subjects from understanding the Bible today to learning how to pray, saving for the future, buying a home, and raising our children. I polled some mentors, top people in their fields, and they were excited. This program would benefit our church. More, it would benefit the young people of our congregation and city! I hope I can stay here long enough to go through the cycle of these sessions several times.

3. Finally, we must move beyond self-imposed limits. It is all about ability and availability.  God’s ability and our availability. Without God, we cannot.  Without us, God will not. It has been rightly said, “One man, one woman, plus God, can do anything!” Imagine what we could do not as individuals but as a congregation if we continually invited God to lead us forward without tying God’s hands with our misguided doubts and fears? If we can manage that, then King David’s prophecy will stand well into the future.

Posterity will serve him; future generations will
be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance
to a people yet unborn.


The Pastor




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