Sunday, February 1, 2009
The congregation I partner with has been involved . . . or we say we have, in a process of intentional transformation. I say "we say we have" as I haven't seen any real commitment on the part of the congregation . . . we said we were . . . more than 1/2 the congregation signed a commitment for openness to transformation when we began working with an internationally known consultant in church transformation over 18 months ago . . . but I had begun to wonder if we were only giving lip service to being open to the Holy Spirit working in and through us to capture this new thing God is wanting to do here . . . to use this church in building the Kingdom by reaching out into our community with the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
As I wrestled with this, I realized that I was judging the congregation while not really looking at myself . . . I spend about two months in prayer and reflection asking God how I needed to be opened to the Holy Spirit so to be in a better position to help lead God's people through this process . . . in the process, I was lead to an unlikely book of the Bible (Nehemiah) and to Andy Stanley's book on visioning.
I have spent the better part of three months now kind of engrossed in Nehemiah -- three weeks ago I began preaching a series on The Building Blocks of Vision (much of the credit here goes to Stanley), provided the Session a Bible study on what it means to be spiritual leaders based on Nehemiah, and am in the middle of planning a Visioning Retreat for the Session and congregation as we seek God's vision for this church.
You see I had forgotten the first key to transformational ministry -- it begins with the individual, even, and perhaps most importantly, the pastor allowing herself to be transformed by the Holy Spirit . . . Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
I don't know where this process of transformational ministry will lead this particular congregation . . . I pray that we will continue to go deeper and further with Jesus . . . there are signs that many of us are on the way . . .