I wanted to share a bit about some staff conversations that we had this last week.
Jonathan has been working on an assignment that has him interviewing church members on 4 questions. The project has four parts:
- for Jonathan to interview about 8-10 people,
- for other staff to do about 5 interviews,
- for the interviewers to have an in depth conversation about the answers and talk about what surprised them about the answers and what surprised them about what was missing from the answers and
- for Jonathan to compile the answers and discussions into a paper.
The 4 questions (in a nutshell) were:
- In what circumstance(s) have you seen God at work in the congregation?
- Tell me about a time of reconciliation within the congregation.
- In what ways has your congregation been involved in the community?
- In Acts, Peter talks about “being saved”. In what ways is your church community “being saved”?
I had the privilege of interviewing 3 people, Kelly interviewed 2 people and Jonathan is in process of interviewing his 8-10 people. On Monday, we had a conversation to debrief our answers with Jonathan. It was a particularly interesting conversation because Jonathan is still learning about our congregation and all its history and ups and downs. The key things that he has learned from many of you is that, even though we have had our share of turmoil and crises and challenges, we are a people that God loves and has not abandoned and His faithfulness is enduring.
When I had a chance to answer the fourth question, I said that God is “saving our church” by His constant sending of new people and opportunities to our door. For the 18 years that I have been here, there has been a lot of change and a lot of turn over, but it seems that, at this present time of calm and peace and anticipation for the future, there are wonderful opportunities for us to show God’s love to others, presented to us at every turn. I have told Jonathan about MOST (Marlborough Outreach Support Team) and how it was created 17 years ago and the wonderful ways in which it impacted our community and helped our church to become an integral part of our community. The fruits of that labour are still evident today, maybe even more than ever, as we continue to impact and be part of our changing community through Serve Day, Feed the Hungry, Christmas Hampers – which led to Brown Bag Lunches, classes for immigrant women that are hosted in our building, continuing with Vacation Bible School – that is bursting at the seams, and our new opportunity to be the host church for an upcoming Syrian Refugee Day Camp. As far back as ten years ago, we had challenging discussions about the need to participate in Social Justice issues. These talks, even though it may seem that the actions are late, produced action that I believe is God led. God has not abandoned us, even though we have dropped the ball on projects, we have been ungracious to each other at times, we have been disappointed and wondered for a while what God’s plan for us was. We have been just like the Israelites and grumbled and complained and given up, but God has always been faithful and patient and loving with us. I am thankful to have had this time to reflect on these questions with others and to have discussions with Jonathan about the good and the bad in our church family and how God is faithful.