Note: On Sunday afternoon, December 16, 2012, Steve Byler was installed as the Senior Pastor of Calvary Mennonite Fellowship. Following is a brief response to the congregation made at that time.
I want to acknowledge the call of God and the church to this responsibility and willingly accept this responsibility.
God has graciously kept his promise to us – He has built his church and we, here at Calvary Mennonite Fellowship, are privileged to be a part of that work. It is that God, who has revealed himself to us in his Son, Jesus Christ that we worship.
God has given us at Calvary a rich legacy of leadership and Biblical exposition – a legacy established by the late George R. Brunk and carried on to this present time by Paul Emerson. That charge, that responsibility is now entrusted to me and my fellow pastors. It’s nurture and care is one of my primary responsibilities…humanly speaking, we as a current pastoral team, do not have the skill set and tools of our predecessors; we do not have the years of experience that each of these brothers brought to their leadership here at Calvary. However, we commit ourselves to the study of the Word with the tools we currently possess and also commit ourselves to the continued development of our skills as God gives us opportunity. Confident in the grace of God to provide for all our needs, we also trust Him to grow us up in Christ in the ways that will most effectively serve you, His people here at Calvary, and best equip you to fulfill your calling in the Kingdom of God.
I want to thank you for your support during this time of transition – the regular assurances of your prayers, words and notes of encouragement, assistance with our household move and the tokens of care including milk, eggs, vegetables and prepared foods. We deeply appreciate this kind of care.
I also want to express my gratitude to Brother Paul for igniting in me a passion and commitment to leadership rooted in Biblical exposition. He has coached me in theology and church administration. There will be ways in which my leadership will look like Paul’s. He has taught me a lot. There will also be ways in which it does not look like Paul’s because I am not Paul.
In addition, I want to acknowledge Brother Linford and our shared 8 years of history. I take great courage in his presence on the team. We have shared the pastoral responsibilities and have a host of shared experiences. His insights are incredibly valuable. I look forward to our coming years of working together.
Brother James has also been a great addition to the team, and if the congregation will support his ordination, I look forward to working with him in the coming years as well. He brings a fresh, youthful insight that is needed on the team and I have learned to value his additional perspective.
In the coming months, the pastoral team will be meeting multiple times for several days at a time in order to grow together as a team. We will also be looking at how God has worked in our history as a church, the strengths and weaknesses that we individually bring to the team and seeking to find complimentary ways of working together. We will seek to chart a course of leadership for the future. As these plans develop, we will be interacting with the church council, the people in the various offices of the church and eventually the entire congregation as we seek to move forward in the work of God’s kingdom as a local congregation. God has blessed us richly with a diverse and gifted group of people. We as pastors acknowledge our responsibility before God to equip you all to fulfill your calling and to provide opportunities for those gifts to be used.
I ask that you would pray for me – that I could lead the pastoral team into a unified, Word-informed, Spirit-guided team that will honor Christ through our service to the church.
I ask that you would pray for us as a pastoral team, that together, we could equip the congregation – each individual member – for the exercise of their God-given gifts for the advance of God’s Kingdom. That together, each doing his part, we could be a community of faith where the Word of God is taught, explained, embraced and loved; where the broken and needy in the world can come and meet the Great Physician; where the proud and wealthy can come and encounter Jesus who calls all to take up the cross and follow Him; where together we can be a living demonstration of the love of God as a body and in the ways in which we interact with other followers of Jesus and those who still deny Him His rightful authority.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God