Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Whether I like it or not...


Hand 1I suppose in every workplace or environment there are realities that we have to come to terms with. Here are three things that I have learnt are true of every Church whether I like it or not.

1. A local Church will be more helpful for some people and less helpful for other people

One of the great things about the Christian faith is that Jesus loves everybody and everybody is welcome. Becoming a Christian is free and open to all. My Church however will only every be part of the expression of this. We speak English and we meet in Exeter. We have a certain style of music and a certain style of meeting. Some appreciate traditional Church and want ordained leaders wearing robes while other people want their leaders to be real and wear jeans. As we make changes to be more helpful to some people we will become less helpful to other people. While we can work hard to be inclusive and broad the nature of moving towards one person moves you away from others. Ouch. 

2. A local Church is made up of Systems

Like a body, the local Church is made up of systems. Every Church has a way of planning Sundays, welcoming new people, enabling community life, releasing ministries, handling finances, reviewing and planning direction and sharing the good news. Each of these systems are in Churches, the question is 'are these systems healthy?' I take a morning out to pray every month. I take a week out to prepare preaching series for every term. I visit my people when they are struggling. As a Church leader I have to accept that for my Church to grow well I will have to pay attention to and invest in each of these systems. Ouch. 

3. A local Church has limits

As a leader I am learning that I only have so many hours, so much talent (!) and so many resources. I cannot do everything today and I cannot do everything at once. I am great at writing to do lists but not very good at accepting that there might be things I cannot do at the moment. There are even things that I will never be able to do. The same is true of my Church. We only have so many people, hours and resources. We can only do so many things at once. I had a team meeting the other day where we listed 25 things we wanted to work through and we had to choose 3. We cannot do it all. Ouch. 

I am glad that we are not the only Church in town! Loads of other are doing a much better job in numerous areas and I praise God. We just want to play our part well. I am glad we have people with different gifts and passions to help each part of Church life grow. I am glad that God speaks through his Holy Spirit both giving peace about what we are doing but also about what we are not doing. 

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