Pastoral Notes for Sunday, March 25, 2018

A month ago or more now, the elders of Cornerstone approved our Assistant Pastor, Rev. Tony Giles, diminishing (slightly) his role at Cornerstone and extending his ministry reach to the church at large. Don’t worry—he’s not going anywhere! Take a moment to read his excellent report below:

Over the last few years God has been giving me a deepening desire to be involved in the work of helping raise up a new generation of ministry leaders.   

In three and half decades of pastoral ministry, serving in a variety of churches and roles, there is one thing I have consistently observed which pastors need to help them be truly effective in their work: the life on life impact of a coach or mentor. These lessons have been hard won in my own life and have come partly through the ministry of Serge, formerly World Harvest, a cross-denominational mission agency that works alongside U.S. churches to help their leaders experience the depths of the gospel through resources and mentoring of ministry leaders.  

Over the last several years, Serge has started to become inundated with alumni from their intensive mentoring ministries asking these sorts of questions:     

·      The gospel has been personally transformative for me, but how do I serve well in a church culture that has not yet experienced the same?

·      How do we build gospel renewal into our leadership training – elders, deacons, staff?

·      How can we put into place an intentional church-wide discipleship plan that is missional as well?

At the same time, here are the kinds of questions I have been asking myself in recent months:


·      How do I steward lessons learned in 34 years of pastoral ministry experience?

·      What should be my focus this season of life and most central to my sense of calling?

·      Where could I find margin to serve beyond my current pastoral responsibilities but still within the scope of my calling?

After an extended season of prayer and long talks with several trusted advisors including our elders – and most of all Mary Lynn – I am planning to reduce my hours as Assistant Pastor at Cornerstone in order to create margin for an expanded ministry outside our local church. Specifically, I will be working 25 hours a week here continuing to serve in the same ways I have been since day one. My hunch is that you may not notice much of a change.

Currently, I am working with Serge staff to develop a new ministry to offer gospel-centered coaching to church pastors and ministry leaders. Specifically, the task is to develop and maintain an effective coaching pathway that will help leaders integrate transformative gospel principles into every area of their leadership resulting in healthy, gospel-centered churches that are missionally engaged. This means

·      Investing personally in key leader(s) of a church

·      Bringing help and expertise to bear on their individual situation, to help them create a sustainable deepening pathway to create a culture of missional discipleship

·      Consulting with those key leaders as they implement plans

·      Eventually recruiting and training other coaches to work alongside me in this new initiative

Actually, these things are right in line with what I have been doing in recent years in my roles as interim senior pastor at Christ Community, as a consultant for a church between pastors in NC and currently as “a fresh set of eyes” for The Village Chapel in Nashville one day a week. I’ve reminded others over the years that calling is most often found at the intersection of passions, giftedness, need and opportunity. Now this open door with Serge is where I am finding that for myself. Please pray for this new ministry and for deepening of faith in my own life.