We’ve got our man. Streatham has its’ leader. God has wonderfully provided us with a man to lead the proposed plant. And so, my highlight this Sunday was being able to announce to both congregations the identity of our man.
As elders we were clear that we wanted someone who fulfils the New Testament requirements for eldership. They had to have a godly character, the ability to teach and sound household management skills. So we were looking for someone with mature personal godliness, a developing teaching ministry in both public and private contexts and a growing leadership style modelled on eth servant leadership of the Lord Jesus. But we were also mindful that we weren’t simply asking someone to join an existing staff team as an assistant. Church planters usually need one or two other character traits. Perhaps more so when the launch team is small. We wanted someone with resilience, perseverance and tenacity. Someone who’s good at establishing and maintaining deep personal relationships. We thought they ought to have the ability to cope with complexity; dealing with things on a number of fronts simultaneously. And we wanted them to have a general skill set rather than be a specialist in one or two areas. We haven’t had to compromise too badly!
We were able to interview a candidate last Wednesday. He was a man well known to us. I’m not sure whether that worked in his favour, or not! But we knew what we’d be getting. And so did he! And so the interview was also an opportunity to hear how the Lord had been at work in his thinking, bringing him to a point where he was clear that this is what he wanted to be involved in.
On Sunday I was able to recommend, without reservation, our current assistant minister Alex Lyell. At which point the congregation cheered. And then looked around to see where he and Lucy were sat. But they weren’t there. And that gave me an opportunity to be effusive in my praise and commendation of him as our choice.
I’m personally thrilled to have Alex on the team. He’s an oustanding young man, a treasured colleague and an exceptionally gifted minister of the gospel. But I’m under no illusions. He’s not the Messiah! He’s not sinless. And he hasn’t got everything the church plant needs to succeed. No one has. We still need the Lord to grow Streatham. But he’s a great fit for what we’re trying to do there. He’s not signed on the dotted line just yet. But that’s simply because we haven’t put a contract in front of him. Metaphorically speaking, he’s onboard! It’s taken a while, but Alex has finally conceded that not only does God love him but that I have a wonderful plan for his life.
We’re delighted that he, Lucy, Finn and Henry are going to be part of our lives for that little bit longer. It is very good news. And we’re very grateful to God.