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Pastor's Note | Sunday, May 10th

Abraham Lincoln, America's sixteenth President, once declared, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." His quote - at first seemingly counterintuitive - clearly illustrates the importance of preparation!

As we continue through a season of pastoral transition, there are a number of ways in which we can - and should - heed Abraham Lincoln's insight, sharpening different "axes" for different "trees to be chopped down."

First and foremost, each of us ought to prepare to celebrate the 14-year ministry of Executive Pastor Jim Wilson. In Session meetings, Coffee with Curtis gatherings, and with some of you individually, I have shared my number one goal over the coming weeks: To help us celebrate Jim! He has wonderfully and passionately upheld the vows of his ordination, serving Good Shepherd "with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love." For the countless ways he has served and led our family of faith, we owe him our deepest debt of gratitude. Please contact me at or Staff Support Elder Candice Cordova at if you would like to help plan the celebration of Jim's ministry! Even if you're not the party planning type, sharpen your axe!

While I hope we all sharpen our axe in preparing to celebrate Jim, our staff and Session have been sharpening our axes for other trees, as well. Our current Ruling Elders have been

  1. preparing for our future in ECO, by engaging in a process of updating our by-laws,
  2. seeking to become spiritual leaders through the Elder Leadership Institute (learn more at elderleadership.org),
  3. clarifying our mission, vision, and strategic plan, and
  4. updating our staffing model and organizational chart.

Beginning in February, I led our full time directors through a time study, seeking to understand their respective use of time. After processing this information, I presented a staffing model at March and April's Session meetings that included shifting daily responsibility for our facilities from Pastor Jim to Finance Manager, Thea Walker, effective July 1st, as well as the hiring of a part-time Administrative Assistant. This staffing model presentation was approved by the Session unamiously. (In the coming months, each of our Session's approved action items will be pushlised here on our website.)

This Administrative Assistant position was included in last week's Weekly. To be clear, it does not replace either our Secretary, Ellie Brandyberry, or our Finance Manager, Thea Walker. It does take the place of our Bookkeeper, which is currently vacant after Good Shepherd member Diana Brett recently stepped down from the position for a full-time position elsewhere. If you know anyone who might be interested, please encourage them to apply!

Our staff have been preparing for the future - or sharpening their axes! - in other ways. My communication responsibilities will be shifted to other members of our staff:

  1. Our Secretary Ellie Brandyberry is taking over responsibility for designing and sending our Weekly e-mail, in addition to the paper version,
  2. Student Ministries Director Josh Higgins is taking over responsibility for graphic design and communication strategy, and
  3. Our future Administrative Assistant will take on responsibility for generating the content on our website.

In these and other ways, our congregation, staff, and Session are preparing for the future God has for us. Let us sharpen our axes!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at or 562/493.2553 x115.

To God be the glory!

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