Across the Pastor’s Desk: Find ways to take the next step

Published 9:37 am Friday, November 4, 2016

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Sean Forde

Sean Forde is a pastor at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.

This is my first article for Across the Pastor’s Desk. So, I looked across my desk, and what a mess.

Sean Forde

Sean Forde

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There was a half-finished Bible study, several writing pads with memos and sticky notes, a thank you note, opened and unopened mail, and some fliers of things gone by and upcoming.

I reread the thank you note on my desk, and what a renewed blessing it was. The note was from a teenager in the church thanking me for being his new pastor. Wow! I was blown away, again. He had already welcomed me appropriately — meaning we had several conversations and laughed at silly jokes new people tell to get better acquainted. I almost dismissed it because I didn’t think a thank you note was necessary. Then I thought, wait a minute, he took the next step.

Isn’t that what we want for our youth? We want them to take the next step: in faith, in responsibility, in service and in showing God’s love.

His note made me realize how important it is to take the next step; in saying thank you, in our faith relationships, in life. It’s great that people are in our thoughts and prayers, but the next step is to call them, tell them we’re thinking of them and actually pray with them. The next step after that is to see them or visit them, if possible. So I took the next step.

I called him up and invited him to have lunch with my family after church. It isn’t a thank you for the thank you; it’s simply sandwiches and casual conversation. In essence, it’s just being there. His note serves as a reminder of why we’re here — to welcome the stranger, to build up and encourage each other on life’s journey, to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.

Here’s my challenge for you this week. Take the next step and call a teenager you know this week. Tell them you were thinking about them and wanted them to know it. Invite them to get a slice of pizza or dessert. It will be the best investment you make this week, and then watch to see how God will provide an opportunity to take the next step.