Rockbridge graduates serve in a variety of ministry settings around the world. My dear friend Brad Baker is an RS graduate who serves as an Executive Pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I first met Brad and his wonderful family when they came on staff at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. We served together as pastors on staff for over a decade before he felt called to New Life. Brad exemplifies the character and quality of Rockbridge graduates. He is a servant leader and has a genuine shepherd’s heart to care for God’s people. Our families have journeyed through many seasons together and I consider him a brother. I asked Brad to give an encouraging word this week to pastors and ministry leaders during this exceptionally stressful time. He is in the trenches, living out his faith, leading with integrity, and remaining faithful to God and his family. I’m honored to call him my life-long friend and proud he is a part of the Rockbridge community.
Holding Fast to Our Immovable Anchor
By Brad Baker
It would have been difficult to imagine, pre-pandemic, just how disorienting 2020 would begin to feel. Each time it seemed the list of nation-wide challenges and personal trials was nearing its end, we’ve rounded another bend in the calendar only to find more woes worth noting. My 17-year-old daughter summed it up quite nicely by stating emphatically, “I’m done! I’m done with a new disappointment every time I turn around. I’m sick of all things 2020. So many of my plans have been wrecked. I need it to end.” Leave it to a teenager to put voice to the inner angsts many of us are hesitant to fully acknowledge.
I recently attended a gathering of pastors from across the country and wasn’t surprised that nearly every hand in the room shot up when the speaker asked how many of us felt utterly exhausted. If 2020 has felt like an all-out assault that’s left your head spinning, rest assured you’re not alone. It’s no surprise that we’re seeing so many of our fellow pastor and ministry leaders thinking about throwing in the towel. Ministry is difficult enough without having to navigate the dizzying number of nuanced difficulties that 2020 has thrown our way. If we’re honest, most of us are not only exhausted and disoriented but we’re struggling to find the way forward.
Aren’t you grateful that God specializes in finding us when we’re weary and disoriented? He’s sending out the rescue party of his love and goodness to soothe our souls, mend our wounds and help us find our feet again. Most of what he does is re-anchor us to his abundance and the simple immovable truths that replenish. Truths like, God is still on the throne. In both Isaiah 6:1 and Revelation 4:2 we read about a throne and a highly exalted Lord seated on it. Roughly 800 years passed between the writing of these two passages. In that 800 year period 5 different successive empires held sway in the Ancient Near East (Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman). Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall yet the Lord’s rule remains forever. We do well to regularly remind our ourselves and our congregations that God’s throne is immovable and as a result our stability in this life and beyond is found only in him. He’s got this (whatever ‘this’ is for you) and he’s got us; every single one of us and he’s not letting go.
When this simple truth begins to settle in, we stop looking for circumstances to ground us. We cease expecting a president, vaccine or paycheck to bring us peace. Our focus shifts back to him and the restorative nature of the Spirit’s work within us. Because God’s rule and reign is secure, He must be able to provide what each one of us need to get through this season of chaos. Even though we may cognitively connect with God’s ability to come to our aid in times like these, it can be difficult to grab hold of when we feel like we’re drowning. That’s why God does his work in so many different ways and uses so many different means. He knows we’ll need extra help catching our breath when the breakers just keep rolling in.
If the weight upon your shoulders feels like more than you can bear and trials are too many to count, know your God is on the throne and stands ready to marshal all of heaven’s resources to see that you are sustained and strengthened. You can hold firm regardless of circumstances because the one who has called you is faithful. Green pastures, still waters and the restoration of your soul is just around the corner. Hold fast.
– Brad Baker Brad and his wife Carrie live in Colorado Springs with their four children (ages 9, 13, 15 and 17). Brad gets outdoors as often as possible to fish, hike, bike, ski and find adventure with his family. He holds a master’s degree in ministry leadership from Rockbridge Seminary and has served for over seven years as an Executive Pastor at New Life Church. Along with his passion for helping seekers explore Christianity through the Alpha Course, Brad loves ministering cross-culturally and exploring new ways to care for marginalized peoples.