"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." – Ecclesiastes 3:1
Last Sunday was a big Sunday in that I was able to announce, on behalf of the board of elders, that we are prepared to recommend Justin Kabakjian to the congregation as the next Senior Pastor at Burning Hearts. You all will have the opportunity to vote on that recommendation at the October 31 congregational business meeting. If approved, Justin will take over my place on January 1, 2023. We are excited about this.
What we had not expected to have to announce was the report (that we ourselves just recently learned) that the building in which we are meeting is being sold. Eurofins has had its eyes on this building for years and now it appears that due to an offer that the owner felt he could not refuse the building will likely change hands before the end of this year. Our lease (good until the end of 2024) will remain intact. We cannot be forced out. So, on the one hand, we have almost 3.5 years to enjoy this building that we have put so much time, labor and money into. On the other hand, that 3.5 years may feel like it is flying by.
We have decided to hold off until at least the October 31 congregational meeting to in any way officially form a building committee to explore the options open to us. Should Justin be approved as the next Senior Pastor, he undoubtedly will want to have some input to this committee. Upon Ruth's and my return from our sabbatical leave (in 2023) I am open to also being involved with that committee as I believe my background in real estate could prove to be of some value to that committee. If YOU would like to serve on that committee, please let the trustees (Jack Stone or Terry Hoffman) or me know.
So, change is in the wind. Two years from now we most certainly will have a different Senior Pastor and four years from now we most certainly will be meeting in a different building.
The process that we have gone through in finding a new Senior Pastor should give all of us a sense of comfort that God is truly watching over us. It was several years ago that I proposed to the elders the process that we have followed, and then it was back in February that we sensed "now is the time to begin the search." Over 50 men expressed interest in the position, and of those a solid dozen or so were truly well qualified (some even had doctoral degrees and had authored many books). But throughout the process one name continued to shine most brightly: Justin Kabakjian. Added to that was the AMAZING FACT that Justin was living in Lancaster County. This allowed for numerous face to face interactions with him and his family. And now, Justin and his family can be involved at Burning Hearts in deep and meaningful ways WAY BEFORE he ever actually starts to serve as the new Senior Pastor. God is good!
In much the same way I believe the Lord will lead us to just the right facility in his timing. By the way, Eurofins has said that if we find a new place to meet before our lease is up they will be fine with that. (I'm wondering if they might even put a financial carrot before us as an incentive for us to leave early? We'll see.)
The Lord loves his church; Christ died for it. We will be fine.