by Senior Pastor Mike Lueken
Sunday night, May 15th, about two hundred people gathered to celebrate God’s faithfulness to Oak Hills during our fascinating journey of the past ten years. It was a beautiful night. In a way, it marked the end of a long, often arduous process of seeking to become a church that takes seriously Jesus’ invitation to live in his kingdom. In another sense, it was the beginning of another chapter in the story. In addition on that Sunday night, we reflected a bit on the book Kent and I have recently written on this journey. I know I speak for Kent in saying thank you for the opportunity to serve here as one of the pastors. There are many pastors in our country and around the world who cannot conceive of a congregation as pliable and trusting as Oak Hills. There are many who would like to lead their church toward spiritual formation and transformation but they know it would be met with fierce opposition. Kent and I want to thank you for your commitment to Oak Hills and to us. The Sunday night gathering triggered a variety of emotions in me. But mostly, it reminded me of what a great church we have. And for that, both Kent and I are thankful.
One thing that seemed obvious on Sunday night is that we are in a good and fun season as a church. You may actually be getting tired of hearing that – but it’s absolutely true and acknowledging it, hopefully, will help keep us humble and grateful. People may wonder what it means to say “we are in a good season.” A few things come to mind. The Holy Spirit seems to be moving; people are hungry to experience God’s kingdom; many are captivated by the possibility of genuine spiritual formation; our finances are getting stronger; the staff is unified; more and more people are finding places to serve both inside and outside the church. Subjective evidence? Perhaps. But serving in the church setting for many years trains one’s senses. In light of the journey we have made together for the past decade, it is good for us to feel good about where we are as a church.
So as we approach our mid-year offering, I want to remind us of the purpose for which it will be used. Effective May 1st, Pastor Rick Leary transitioned to a part-time position overseeing facilities and grounds. Rick has faithfully served at Oak Hills for 22 years. He is a man of strong faith and character and we are thrilled he will be staying with us on staff. But we have not budgeted for his new position and we don’t feel it is wise to add it to our planned expenses. Yet, we feel the role is crucial in light of the ongoing demands of our facilities, and Rick’s expertise and gifting is unique. So our hope is to fund this position through over and above special offerings beginning with this year’s mid-year offering.
As always, we will give 10% of whatever comes in to a ministry outside of Oak Hills. This year the 10% is for Theodore Judah’s Stars program which is an after school program for children. The date of the mid-year offering is June 5, but feel free to give it anytime from now until the end of June.
If you have questions about any of this, don’t hesitate to ask me, Kent or an Elder Board member. Once more, thank you for the privilege of serving. I believe God has good things in store for us!