A Note From Chris - November 3, 2022

On Monday and Tuesday this week, our staff went offsite and hosted our annual staff retreat. Each year, we set aside time to dream together, work through big picture things, and spend time connecting with each other. This year, after a challenging few years of ministry, we spent most of our time just enjoying time together for two days, getting to know one another better, and celebrating the incredible joy it is to serve in ministry at Cornerstone.

The Barna Group, a trusted research group who studies primarily trends within Christianity, found that in 2021, around 29% of ministers had considered quitting their job and doing something else in the past year. After the struggles of the pandemic, racial tensions, and other stressors, that number had grown from previous years. Then, in 2022, the number jumped to 42%. That means 4 out of 10 in ministry seriously contemplated doing something else. For most, it isn’t because they don’t love Jesus or want people to know him. It means that the challenges of loving and serving in the church can be very challenging. Unfortunately, some of that 42% followed through and have left the ministry all-together. Bible colleges are closing at a seemingly rapid rate, limiting new ministers into the field. In multiple ways, the ministry is facing some struggles that I’ve not seen in my 20+ years of serving.

I am so grateful for the team God has put together at Cornerstone. All of them bring something so unique to our church and are a major part of our team. Whenever I hear the woes of other pastors about their staff (which is most weeks), I’m reminded how blessed we are to have the folks God has given us. Over time, church staffs adjust and change as the church grows and changes. However, one neat observation from our staff retreat this year is that every person on our team THIS year was also on our team LAST year. That certainly won’t always be the case. But it is a point to celebrate, as we know that time in often times means increased trust and effectiveness.

Would you take a moment and pray for our staff? They work hard to love our church well and use the calling and gifting God has given them to grow his Kingdom here through Cornerstone. I love them, and I know you love them, too. The greatest gift you could ever give them is to pray regularly for them. Pray against the enemy getting in their heads and hearts. Pray for their marriages and their children. Pray for the personal challenges they encounter. Pray for encouragement in ministry and strength through the spiritual battles they regularly face. Pray for God to grow them and stretch them in His power.

Would you also give consistently to God through the church so we can continue to bless and resource our team for ministry? 100% of our staff dollars come from the sacrificial giving of our church. Each of them knows that and takes it very seriously. They are worth it!

And when you see them around this weekend, take a moment and offer a hug or an encouraging word to remind them how much they mean to you.

Yours and His,
Chris VandeLinde

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