I am about to write something that pastors are not supposed to write. It’s not provocative – well, maybe a little, in a way. It’s really mostly confessional and it ends up being hopeful.
It feels like we’ve been in a slump lately, as a church that is. We’re doing fine. Attendance has been fair and steady, just not at the level it once was. Giving has been good enough to keep things moving along and getting bills taken care of. We’re not setting records, but we’re doing okay. But from a standpoint of forward movement it feels like we’re not going very far very fast.
I liken it to a sailboat sitting in the middle of a lake and the wind has come to a stop. The sails hang limp and the boat drifts slowly in whatever direction the current takes it. The crew is busy taking care of the things they can. Keeping the inner workings in good order and encouraging one another as the time goes by.
Now, I can’t speak for everyone in the church. I can’t say this is felt by a lot of the people or even a good portion of the leadership. I do know we have been at work looking toward the future, seeking clarity on who God has created us to be as a church and seeking to be faithful to the future God calls us into. One group of leaders have been working through a process called Church Unique, which is designed to get at those very issues. Our church will be hearing more about this soon.
The real issue I wanted to address is not the quietness of the place we find ourselves nor the condition of the boat and the sails. What I am most captivated by is that I feel a breeze beginning to pick up. I can feel the Holy Spirit stirring and getting ready to move us in new ways. I feel the presence of God growing stronger in the various gatherings of the people – in meetings, in worship, in times of fellowship, and in our visioning group.
It’s such a great feeling to be reminded that God is the power that moves us to new places. It is an awesome experience to feel God moving in ways that is so very obvious. It is such a joy to know that God has not left us to our own designs and efforts. This is God’s church and the journey is God’s to direct. It is the Spirit of God that will carry us into the future – and the breeze is beginning to pick up, the sails are starting to fill, and the pace of our journey is about to pick up speed.
There is really only one task we have. It is a task the Church unique team is helping us to accomplish. Our task is to set our sails in such a way that we catch the holy wind of God’s Spirit. We have to let out the jib and tighten the sail, and other necessary work for getting the boat best situated for catching the wind. In other words, we have to work with God and position ourselves through prayer, worship, serving, giving, etc. We have to be ready to leave behind the familiar shore nearby and move to new places. We have to consider our work as leaders and church members serving God’s purpose. We have to strive after the goals God puts before us. We have to use our brains to think of ways each of us can contribute to the journey. God doesn’t impose his Holy Spirit on us, he calls us to work with Him through the power He gives us.
I am getting excited for the next part of our journey. I am pumped to know that the Spirit’s power is working and growing in us. I am in awe of the possibilities God is setting before us. And I love the feeling of that holy breeze blowing across the heart and soul of our church.
Holy high-five to you,