Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reflections on the past year

Yes, it has been that long. So what have I learned?
  • I am more convinced than ever that Christian leadership must be, following the example of Christ, the way of brokenness. I'm thinking about this now because I recently read Henri Nouwen's In the Name of Jesus. If I try to be impressive, to be relevant and useful and successful, I am not following the path of Christ. The path of Jesus leads to the cross. I am working hard to show my churches (I'll get to that) that I am not specially skilled or remarkably talented, but just me: broken and beautiful, an incomplete child of God
  • Trusting the Spirit of God to work is hard. I want to engineer things--I can't stand it when what we do in church is mediocre, un-purposeful, and half-hearted. Yet there have been moments when I believe the Spirit of Christ has truly worked that I thought were hopelessly lost causes. In some ways, it is frustrating; I want to think I know what makes a good church service, what will work. But sometimes the best laid plans don't work out, and sometimes the most poorly planned things work splendidly. This is teaching me humility: God will work as he chooses, in unexpected places.
  • Churches are living organisms, not machines. If a church is struggling, people often want to "fix" it. But living organisms don't get fixed; they heal. If a plant gets sick, you can't fix it--you can enrich and fertilize the soil, shelter it from the elements, keep it watered, give it sun, and wait for growth to occur--but that sometimes takes years!