Thursday, May 01, 2014

Write this Vision

 What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst.
I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon.
I’ll wait to see what God says,
how he’ll answer my complaint.

And then God answered: “Write this vision.
Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
so that it can be read on the run.

This vision-message is a witness
pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

Habakkuk 2:1-3  The Message (MSG)

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Hale’s Brewery Colville, Washington. USA
Well, a year ago today I began as the Lead Minister of Bridge St. United Church in Belleville, Ontario. I knew that this was a congregation with a long history and a beautiful, but costly building. I understood that Bridge St. was at the "tipping point," as so many aging, downtown congregations are, but I liked the people who interviewed me, and I continue to be impressed by the congregation as a whole.

After a year I'm pondering what we have achieved in terms of re-inventing ourselves. Everyone has discovered that a few months are not enough to discern God's direction and to establish a new sense of mission. One document we have consulted called Pathway to Renewal: Practical Steps for Congregations maintains it takes seven years to redefine and implement a new mission for a community of faith. Our Governance Board and other leaders are not altogether sure we have seven years, although the congregation has been at this for three years or more.

I do believe that God is at work here, and that we seeking to be faithful, even in the moments when it feels we are running earnestly in circles. Recently, on a Saturday, we had a Dialogue Day attended by more than 50 articulate and attentive people. It was a very encouraging event.  And while we are anything but perfect (did I just sound like Rob Ford?) we are the group invited to climb the watchtower and scan the horizon as God’s people. And we are the group whose role it is to identify and name and encourage the "main things" of Christ in our congregation. That can frighten us, or excite us, or a little of both.

What are your thoughts and comments about what has happened at Bridge this process? What about in your congregation, wherever you may be?

1 comment:

Judy Mcknight said...

I think we still have enough going for us to expect good things for our future... new people are coming and old ones are coming back ... attendance has been up recently, and special events are well attended.... let's trust that God is definitely not finished with us yet....