It is hard to believe how long it has been since I have added a post . . .
Recently I have joined a small group from across our presbytery who are doing advanced training in transformational ministry. One of the men in the group asked what our experiences have been with transformational ministry. The church I partner with is now 18 months into the process . . . this was my response to him.
Emotionally my experiences have run the gamut from immense frustration to immense joy, but I think now I have learned to be content knowing that it is not about me . . . although, paradoxically, it is about me . . . it is about me being willing to be open to the HS working to help me go deeper and further with Jesus and through me to help others go deeper and further with Jesus.
Honesty . . . I didn’t realize my need to go deeper and further with Jesus . . . after all, I am a MOWS!! A large part of my growth has led me to get off the emotional roller coaster although again in all honesty I still find myself booking a ticket on certain days, but more often than not I don't get on.
If truth be told the greatest emotion I had to overcome was fear . . . fear of people not liking me, fear of making people unhappy. A huge debt of gratitude goes to Tom for helping me reach this place. Interestingly . . .
there was/is a lot of fear in this community of faith about the process of transformation . . . even the word transformation is fearful for some people here and although Tom gave us other names transformation is very Biblical and I won’t shrink from using the word. But I am couching the word in love and grace and gentleness.
I haven’t quite figured out the origins of this fear – on the surface, it may be related to the Presbyterian mantra “we have always done it this way” or it may be related to the real possibility that transformation will bring changes in leadership (which we are already seeing), but I am wondering more if the fear is not related to having to look, assess and perhaps find that their own relationship with Jesus is lacking.
I don’t want to be critical of this congregation, especially as I don’t think they are much different than most mainline congregations, but the sad fact is that it hasn’t been about Jesus . . . it has been about “us.” Yet, almost every day I see this is changing . . . in individual lives and by extension in the congregation as a whole.
Without wanting to sound like an egomaniac it began with me -- really, rather than egomaniac, it was about me growing more into having and living with a servant heart . . . with my own willingness to invest more than I thought I would and could. Although it can be energy draining in a physical sense, paradoxically it has also been life-affirming. God has blessed me with good friends, both near and far, who keep before me my need for self-care. This is a key – self care.
At one point, late last year, for me self-care meant stepping away for awhile from doing transformational ministry (about three months) to make room for more intense prayer, study and planning for transformational ministry. I came back re-energized and recommitted because this is what I believe God desires for this church. It was after this break that I was able to see little blossoms of spiritual growth everywhere. It isn’t huge growth but it is growth and this growth is bringing hope to a congregation that I really believe has been living in a fog of hopelessness for many, many years.