It has now been four months into my new environment at Claremont Baptist Church. And what a time it has been! I have been overwhelmed by the syncing, support, and service that I have found here. Some time back I was asked to define my thinking on the integration and transition necessities brought about by my tenure here at CBC. So, to grasp the concept with crystal clarity (which for me almost always also means brevity) I have formulated my ideas around a H.A.T.
Hence the title: You Can Keep Your H.A.T On.
My introductory conviction and sense is hopefully conveyed by the title. And it means this: Do not disrupt things too much, you get to keep your hat on for now. The mental picture I have in my mind is, when I am sitting down in my favourite chair at home and an unexpected guest stops by. My wife brings him through to where I am and I respond with a surprised yet pleasant facial expression. I hurriedly move to stand up to greet and the visitor says, “Please, don’t get up!” My message to CBC is the same; please don’t get up; at ease sailor; you can keep your hat on. My presence here will not be an unwelcomed disruption but a valuable addition. For those of you who like things in formula speak, consider this
Purposed Appeal → Valuable Addition → Organic Assimilation → Mutual Affirmation → Necessary Alteration → Desired Action
A few months ago the above processed was started when CBC extended the official appeal for me to become a member and pastor of CBC. I made CBC a valued addition to my life. Since then there has been an organic assimilation taking place whereby I am getting to know my new family and hopefully they are getting to know me beyond my public persona. All the while a mutual affirmation has been developing. Change has been thrust upon us and there has been necessary alterations on both sides. As we work out the future together while establishing the present, we are committed to a set of determined desired actions that will bring God glory and extend the kingdom of God.
Here is the acronym H.A.T. that I conclude with:
Honour the past:
I have come to realise that pastoral leadership is a partnership between the present and the past. Many treat it as a competition where the present dispensation vies for greater esteem and efficacy than the previous one. This should not be so. Rather, we should see an interlocking connection between past dispensations and the current one. With this in mind I am able to pay tribute to the great leaders that this church was privileged to host and most certainly to the most recent previous pastor, the Reverend Peter Smallbones. His work and ministry will continue to influence and inspire this church for many years to come. We can say thank you God for him and his ministry.
Adjust to the present:
Any addition to our context no matter how small will demand some sort of adjustment from us. We need to consult God in prayer to make the right adjustments which take into account not only my needs but the needs of the broader church community as well as the claims that scriptural truth demands of us.
Train for the Future:
So once the future has been determined (we call this vision), we begin to make an adjustment of training towards manifesting it. Attempting it (mission) is another adjustment we will make later which has the distinction of being both a status quo modifier while simultaneously being a status quo creator.
There you go.