• Rev. Joel L. Tolbert

Praying for Christmas

Down below this little devotional or reflection that Caitlan or I write each Wednesday is a list of prayers. Caitlan and I use this list to remember. We pray over these names, of course, in our own ways. We might also call, email, or text people on the list to check on them. I don't know about Caitlan, but I suspect this is true for her as well. I usually wish I could have done more.


How do you use this weekly devotional email and this prayer list? What do these words and reflections from Caitlan or me do in your life? How faithful are you in reading what we write? How consistent are you in reading through every line, every name of the prayer list, every week?


I try to write something here that will inspire you to give of yourself in some small way to someone else on this list. I don't want anyone to feel guilt or pressure. I do hope you will feel called, encouraged to do something for someone as a result of what we write, and the list we publish.


I say something almost every Sunday because I believe it to be true and because I need it to be true. While Caitlan and I are the pastors of the church, the real ministers of this church are her members. We send out the prayer list in hopes that the people Caitlan or I didn't reach this week, one of you did reach. Maybe a deacon sent a card. Maybe the flower team sent one of their split arrangements. Maybe a buddy dropped off a hazelnut latte. Maybe someone sent an email joke.


If you ever want some time with one of the pastors, or both of us, it would be our pleasure to do so! We are so honored when someone invites us into their life. I'd love to hear what's going on in your head and heart and to wonder with you what God might be doing, or nudging you to do.


But please know, church is about so much more than the pastors. Church is about all the people being pastoral to one another. In Church, we find our support doesn't come from any one person, but from the width and breadth of all the people around us working together to help embody God's radical hope, peace, joy, and love.


My prayer for Christmas is that everyone in this church uses this prayer list as an invitation to keep being church, right through COVID, right through Christmas, right into 2021 and beyond.

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In 2002, I left my corporate career, and went to seminary. Since 2005, I've been serving churches, and trying to follow Jesus, and lead others in doing the same...

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