Sunday, July 13, 2008

Transformation . . . baby steps

Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:2

For the past three years I have partnered with a smaller membership church (122 members). Last October, we, along with several other churches in our judiciary, begin a process of intentional transformation with a leading church consulting firm.

It has been a difficult journey . . . often I wondered how committed the congregation was to the process . . . our consultant had warned us that 1/3 would be against it, a 1/3 would be neutral and a 1/3 would get it . . . I wondered when we would see the 1/3 who got it . . . well, we are beginning to see them . . . it is amazing!

Preaching every Sunday I often wonder, “is anybody listening?” . . . every once in awhile there is the predictable “good sermon” . . . although more often I heard the whispers of displeasure . . . why all this talk about change and transformation? . . . doesn’t she think we are good enough?

Frankly, one of the most difficult parts of the journey is that it is based on personal spiritual transformation . . . based on having and sharing a personal relationship with Jesus . . . . . . going deeper and further with Jesus . . . Jesus was a name I rarely heard roll off the lips of those in the congregation . . . much less did I hear about their personal relationships with Him.

Then something happened to change all of this . . . In the adult Church School class we started studying Leonard Sweet’s “The Gospel According to Starbuck’s” . . . all of a sudden people actually started talking about Jesus and their relationship with Him . . . amazing . . . more people started attending . . . then there was a growing buzz about this new thing that God is doing . . . People seemed to be excited.

And then Wednesday night I met with the Vision Team and heard some amazing things . . . Things that came right from words of sermons that I though had fallen on deaf ears . . . Hallelujah! . . . God is at work and as one woman said . . . ‘For 3 to 4 years now we have been worried about what we can do to get people to come to our church. We can’t worry about this anymore -- we need to work on personal transformation and let God do the rest. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to prepare us to get comfortable with the stranger who will come to visit with us on a spiritual level and the only way we can do this is going deeper and further with Jesus ourselves.’

Wow! Our God is awesome! I can't wait to see what happens next on our journey.

Keeping the faith,


1 comment:

St. Casserole said...

your steps are brave. proud of you and your work!