Church Update

It's been a while since I posted about the changes afoot in my church. Time for an update.

I wish I could say that it has been just wonderful, smooth sailing into unity. If I did, you'd all know I was lying anyway because nothing of any importance can be done by a group without some hard times. People are just different, and those differences take some ironing out in order to work as a team. I am happy to report that it has not been comletely discouraging either. It been an up and down time, but mostly we're making progress.

Of the three commitments we made at that first meeting, we've kept the first two fairly well. We've met every other week and talked about the church. (OK, one week we spoke briefly and then went to see Spiderman II.) We're getting to know one another, and learning how to work together. It's much harder than it sounds. It's amazing how we can make a plan of action for the coming weeks and each of us understand that plan differently. It's taking a lot of openess and honesty and understanding to come together. That can be both exhausting and intimidating. I was encouraged one evening as I hesitated to share what might come across as hurtful or negative. One of the brothers said something like, "Just say it. If we can't just speak our minds here, we should give up now." Amen to that. So to sum it up, one day it's great, we're forging a bond and becoming unifies. The next, we've misunderstood each other or stepped on toes or acted inconsiderately or without consultation of the group and it hurts. But we're pressing on.

The most encouraging thing has been the meetings with the members. We paired up and each pair took a region. My cohort and I have met with 6 - 8 couples and a couple of individuals in the last 2 months. I tell you, I did not realize how draining it could be adding in 2-3 two hour appointments into my week. It's worn me out. But the encouragement I've recieved from them has been fantastic. Not that they've all felt great about the church, some did but most had some concerns. No major ones for us yet. But they've all been very encouraged that we were coming out to do meet with them. Even more encouraging to me, was the changes we have seen in people as a result of our meeting. we did not set out to challenge people to change, nor have we. But in more that one case, on their own, people have initiated changes that they had spoken of in our meeting. For example, one brother said he'd been meaning to have more people in his home and the week after our meeting he hosted a cookout after church. To see people inspired to do something on their own is so encouraging to me.

It's also helped me see the needs of the church more clearly, exactly what it was intended to do. Going in I had a thought that the biggest need was relationships. We've heard a fair bit about relationships, but just as much about a lack of discipling and challenging going on. What I've learned is that people don't want just relationships, they want challenging relationships. They long to be kept on the narrow road. This was somewhat surprising to me, but it shouldn't have been. Isn't that what I want too? Isn't that the reason I've been lamenting my own lack of relationships?

We've still a long way to go, but we're getting there. Along the way, the brother that I've been teamed up with and I are building the kind of relationship that I've longed for. He's been there for me when I've felt like giving up, listening and encouraging. He's been just what I needed. I hope that doesn't mean he's about to leave too. :-)

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