As we begin the month of May, it’s a time of many transitions.  Looking at God’s creation outdoors, we see spring taking hold with the trend toward longer daylight hours, warmer temperatures, and the spring foliage changing to that of summer with buds transforming into full-grown leaves and flowers and the grass quickly growing (and giving our lawn mowers a regular workout!).  Robins and other birds who have built their nests and laid their eggs will soon be nurturing growing young. The young of rabbits, squirrels, and other creatures will soon be scampering across our lawns.

We also experience transitions with our children and young people.  College students are finishing their classes and graduating.  High school students are also finishing their classes and graduating.  Elementary and middle school students will follow early next month.  In our own family, this whole topic of transitions has been at the forefront of our minds with our daughter Laura graduating from Unity Christian High School mid-month and our son Matt graduating from Jenison Christian School the first full week of June.  Sheri and I have already gone with Laura to Calvin College for her college orientation and she has signed up for her fall classes.  Matt has enrolled in his fall high school classes at Unity Christian and has attended meetings for high school athletics and student extra-curricular activities.

We experience transitions too at church with the conclusion of this year’s ministry season and preparation for summer ministries.  At the end of last month, our congregation approved continuing and new officebearers to serve on Council.  Our Catechism classes have finished for the season and most of our Bible studies will take a break for the summer too.  Preparations are being made for our summer outreach opportunities including the Youth Fishing Derby at the end of May, Vacation Bible School in July, and the Chicago Mission Trip in August.  The Renewal Team will be having a retreat on July 8 to share stories about the Renewal Lab journey, to identify “wins” from the renewal process, to discuss what still needs to be accomplished in our renewal process, to discuss how to increase the “gravitational pull” to greater discipleship, to review and refine our church’s vision pyramid, to create new SMART goals for the upcoming ministry year, to determine next steps in the renewal process, to create a plan for future structures to support continual renewal, and to pray for God’s Spirit to do a great work at 12th Avenue Church.  Proposals from this Renewal Team retreat will be presented to the Council and congregation for approval.  We continue our road to spiritual and missional renewal by the power and guidance of God’s Holy Spirit.

We experience transition finally as we join in celebrating the life and ministry of Jesus Christ with the worldwide church.  During this month of May, we move from the Easter season to Ascension Day commemorating how Jesus’ post-resurrection earthly ministry came to an end as he ascended to heaven and told his followers to wait for the Holy Spirit to come on Pentecost so they would be empowered to continue the ministry of their Lord and Savior.  Jesus Christ himself experienced profound transitions as he ended his earthly ministry and began his reign and ministry in Heaven.

As we experience transitions during this month of May and future months, may we be encouraged by our Lord and Savior who promises us as he promised his first followers, “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Jesus’ promise of his presence in our own transitions of life and ministry is reinforced in other Scriptures, including Psalm 121:8, “the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

May the presence and watchful eye of our Savior strengthen us as we experience every transition we face.


Pastor Mark

Mark Bennink