BY JEFFREY H SYPOLE, PASTOR
Sunrise Church is once again going through a change in pastoral leadership. Many know the way of the United Methodist Church regarding appointments. It’s called the “Itinerant System.” John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, preached up to 40,000 sermons in his lifetime. He was an itinerant preacher—or circuit rider, as they were called back in those days—traveling from town to town in England. Eventually, Wesley would bring the movement to America with the same theory—that appointments would be for only a few months, after which the preacher would be moved to another circuit. This traveling from place to place to begin Methodist societies led to the Itinerant System, which the United Methodist Church still uses presently. Pastors make a commitment to go and serve wherever they are sent by the bishop. Thank goodness, the appointments today last a bit longer than in Wesley’s time, as it can be challenging and strenuous both for the people of churches, and for pastors.
I was appointed to Sunrise on July 1st, replacing Jennifer Hampton, who served the church for four years and wrote the column “Keep on the Sunny Side” here in Forsyth FamilyMagazine. I hope to keep up the work she did both at the church and in this section of Forsyth Family. Sunrise is a unique church with wonderful people and ministries, and this magazine is unique, with incredible writers and topics. I am excited to be a part of the two.
With all of that said, I was thinking recently, as I was preparing to move with my wife, Laurie, to the Lewisville-Clemmons area, that life is like a book. Both have many chapters, with each adding something to the story. A chapter ends, and another begins, to continue the story to its conclusion. This can be said, not only in one’s life and the life of a church, but also in businesses, world history, nature, the environment, and more. But let’s talk about our personal journey of life and the changes we experience as we move from chapter to chapter.
For all of us, life changes over the years. Some of us like change, while for others there is a great disdain for it. Some welcome it as an adventure—something different from the humdrum. Others are uncomfortable with it and are satisfied with the status quo. It can involve going to a new school, a new job, a new home, getting a new brother or sister, retirement, and other adjustments we may be forced to make. Transitions (or changes) can be exciting and positive, or difficult. Our attitude depends on our sensibility and the circumstances surrounding the change. We wonder: “Can I do this? Is everything going to be all right?”
Like a book that breaks down the entire story into chapters, life is not one chapter, but many. When we come to the end of a chapter, we turn the page, open the next chapter, and the story goes on. Some chapters may have been unpleasant, and we want to turn the page; in others, we might want to stay there. God has a plan for everyone, and it involves many chapters. Our individual story is not over until the day we die. The Lord said, “Iknow the plans I have for you, plans for good, plans to give you a future and a hope”(Jeremiah 29:11). Remember, the future here and now, and for all eternity, is full of possibilities when we let the “Son” shine in our hearts.