Happy New Year! I pray everyone has had a joyous Christmas season so far. I will be using this space to ask your assistance in helping me and the elders better provide pastoral care for our growing congregation.
The first thing has to do with confidentiality and the prayer requests/prayer chain. If you want to receive prayer requests, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I start the prayer chain and will email requests to all those who request them.
You will find that I include very little specific information in prayer requests. I will not share anyone’s information unless I have that person’s, or that person’s guardian’s permission. God knows the needs; we only need to lift people in prayer. Over sharing information, especially when it is not one’s own, can be embarrassing, but the real issue is that it can destroy relationships and/or cause unintentional harm. I know of a situation in one of my California churches where the information shared about a new baby caused the young mother to become the victim of a stalker. Please, use discretion in sharing.
The second thing has to do with confidentiality in another way. I am concerned that I do not have contact information for many of you for the person I should call in case you are involved in an emergency situation. If you attend church with your emergency contact, that may not be an issue. Many of you live alone and come to church alone. I would like to have an emergency contact for each of you but especially for those who come to church alone. This will be kept confidential and will only be used in case of an emergency.
There will be forms available for you to give me your emergency contact information. On that form there will also be a place for you to give me favorite hymns and Scriptures along with a space for anything else you would like your pastor to know in case of an untimely demise. The best time to think about end of life issues is before those things are needed.
As we enter a new year, I am well aware that we are entering a new era at Hilton Christian Church. I am working to equip the congregational leaders, especially the elders, for what I anticipate being a year of growth for the congregation. As solo pastor, I will not be able to do everything that is needed in a growing congregation so I’m planning ahead and trusting that this church is fully capable of functioning as a congregational church. May it be so.
Grace and peace,