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!


whw said...

Welcome back. Beautifully said. I recall a comment some years ago from Dave Klinsing after he left his Seattle pastorate. Many were talking about keys to church growth. He said we should be probing what enhances church health.

Sarah said...

I think you are so wise. I especially appreciate your last point. You can't fix people, you can heal them with Christs comforting love - IF they want to be healed.