Go and Get Things Un-stuck
It has been a while since I have written about my thoughts and conversations with God and Jesus and I'm not really sure why that is but this morning it just seemed like something I once again needed to do.
Over the period of time that I have been away from this, once almost daily activity, a number of events have taken place, probably the most notable being a direction I received from God to " get out of the bleachers and onto the playing field". You may ask what is that suppose to mean? What it means is, God wanted me to stop watching our church self destruct and do something about it. The church to which I belong, Grace Methodist Church, has recently gone through a number of events and changes which has caused a fairly sizable decrease in membership.
This free-fall was the main topic of conversation on Sunday mornings during fellowship time. We all had our reasons and many wanted to point to the fact that since our old minister retired and a new minister came to the church people have been leaving at a steady rate. But why? Especially, since the new minister was a veteran and very well liked in his previous churches.
So, instead of listening to all the negative energy, I began to ask God, with my business background, what I can do to help the church right itself and, move things in a positive direction. That is when God very clearly stated "you have to get out of the bleachers and onto the playing field."
My response back was ok, I hear what you are saying but how exactly am I suppose to do that? God's response was "use the Internet". Can you believe it, God directing me to the Internet, but who am I to question God, although I have to admit it was not quite what I was expecting. The next thing that came to me was, if the church was a business what I could do to help turn it around. Simple, I would act as a consultant and begin looking into the various aspects and functions of the church and see what potentially could be causing the negative flow of energy. I then went online to see if something or someone like this existed and found the concept of a church consultant. But even more, I was lead to a web-site to help individuals become church consultants though a certification process. I signed up for the course and ended up driving to Louisville Kentucky to attend the class which was being given at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Now if you haven't read the overview of "who am I" in this web-site you may not understand the reaction I had when I picked up a coffee cup on the first morning and saw the words "Southern Baptist Theological Seminary" and thought to myself are you kidding? Me in a seminary, you know I actually think I heard God chuckle.
The course turned out to be very interesting and upon returning to Maryland I met with the Head Pastor of Grace and discussed some of the key aspects of the course. I also asked if I could use the church to do my required "consultation" which I needed before becoming fully certified. He agreed and I began explaining to others what I was moving to do. The reaction was over whelmingly positive and maybe it was simply timing but people's attitudes seemed to begin to shift and the positive energy began to flow through out the building. Perhaps it was just timing but maybe the idea that someone was looking to help as opposed to just watch might have been what was needed to turn things around.
Although, I have not finished the consultation as of this writing, I continue to pray for the life of the church and yesterday God gave me further direction on the church but also something that I am suppose to help individuals with as well. God pointed out that one of Grace's main problems is it is stuck, stuck in the past and stuck in the way they have been doing things for almost ever. It was made clear that a church needs to look at itself and see if it has turned to inward focused or is it truly outward focused as a healthy church must be. God then further pointed out that most people are much the same as many churches, they get caught up the fact that we go about living our lives the same way each day and get comfortable doing so, so we don't and won't look outward but only inward trying to isolate or maybe "protect" ourselves from the world and other people's lives. But this is not what God meant for us to be. God wants look outward and instead of worrying only about oneself, to go into the world and care for others, really care for others. The final words to me yesterday were "Steve, go and help Grace as well as other churches get un-stuck, but also go and help the individuals of the world to get un-stuck as well." Simple straight forward direction, so I will start with my self, am I stuck? (back to Spiritual Conversations )