Lead Pastor Michael J. Paris

 

A child of God, Husband of Sue, Father, Grandfather, Pastor and friend.  Pastor Mike longs to lead men and women to live like they are God’s most treasured possession and grow in their faith all for the Glory of Him who is the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

 

Hey Church –

Two Sundays ago (8/14) we had a full day of being together! We enjoyed communion, sang songs together, prayed  together, and heard salvation testimonies. At end of the service you heard a confession of an unhealthy, tired pastor! If you  missed it, here’s what I said: 

This November, I will finish my 25th year of pastoral ministry. I have experienced the joys of ministry among multiple  congregations here in NY state. In those years, I and my family have also experienced some wear and tear that goes along  with ministry. The latest of these have been the COVID pandemic and the death of my brother, Todd, and the loss of more  than 25 members of our congregation. These challenges have piled up on me personally and have left me feeling  discouraged, tired, and grieving. I have found myself lacking in resilience and spiritual strength necessary to lead our  congregation forward. In a word, I am just “whooped”. This exhaustion has left me irritable, inflexible, and  uncharacteristically pessimistic. I want to lead us forward to greater health and strength, but I find myself too emotionally,  spiritually, and mentally weak to do that.  

So, at the urging of my family, I have reached out to a professional pastoral counselor to get help. Upon his  recommendation, I began conversations with the leadership team and have decided that I need to take a sabbatical to rest,  renew, and refresh my spirit and rediscover the direction for the next years of ministry, especially at FBC@A.  

The sabbatical will begin with our previously scheduled family vacation 9/3 and end on my return 10/2. The deacon and  trustee teams have accepted my proposal and are working with me to plan out the details. I will continue sessions with my  pastoral coach throughout the sabbatical. I want to be a healthy shepherd to lead us to greater spiritual health as a  congregation. Thank you for your support. 

So what are you supposed to do with that news? I have some suggestions: 

  1. Pray. If you haven’t begun a regular discipline of praying for your pastor, now is the time to start! If you were  already doing that, keep it up! Pray for true refreshment for me and my family. 
  2. Attend. Don’t give up on attending regular services at FBC@A because I won’t be there. There will be excellent  speakers/preachers/missionaries each week that will be filling in. Encourage them with your active participation.
  3. Volunteer. There are inevitably some areas that we hadn’t considered at the beginning of this sabbatical that need  extra help. Talk to one of the deacons to see what you can do.  
  4. Do some honest self-evaluation. Are you pushing through hurt, conflict, pain without resolving, healing and  resting? Maybe you need to seek some godly counsel and make some of your own adjustments. I want you to be  healthy too! This activity is always good, but maybe my confession to you has prompted you to care for your own  stuff.  
        5. Invite. It would be really easy to go into a holding pattern with a “wait and see” perspective on my absence. Keep  ministering to friends, relatives, neighbors, and associates. Keep doing the things that only you can do for the cause  of Christ.
 

I am convinced that God has brought us to Attica and has placed us together for this time. As the song we sing says “All my  life You have been faithful / All my life You have been so, so good / With every breath that I am able / I’m going to sing of the goodness of God” This challenge is going to accomplish the will of God if we let him work His good pleasure out in us. I  look forward to celebrating the wins and the conquering with you in the future. May God bless you all.

 
 
Blessings, Pastor Mike pastormike33@yahoo.com, 607.220.9911, 99 East Ave, Attica NY 14011