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Beyond the Pulpit

May 2017

Greetings and may the grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord be with you all.

This week we had a special Presbytery meeting.  Special Presbytery meetings are rarely filled with joy and celebration, most are like this one, relatively perfunctory, in part because there was no great shock nor surprising information.  But this one did seem to bother me more than it did others who were there.  At this meeting we formed a commission to over-see and aide in the merger of two small churches because one could no longer stand on its own.  We also sold the building of a church we closed a year ago because it could no longer keep its doors open. And finally, we sold the building of a church which was once larger than our own, a beautiful church that has dwindled in membership to a point where they can no longer afford to maintain their large, lightly used building.

It caused me to ask, who is next?  Sure, I have a few candidates in mind, and no, Santa Fe isn’t one of them.  However I still wonder, as well as things seem to be going here at Santa Fe, how easily we could become one of them.

I feel we are perched atop the center of a teeter-totter, lean one way ever so slightly, and we start to slide backward down to join the churches I spoke of above.  Lean the other way, and we continue to move forward, perhaps even pick up momentum.

But which way will we go? Forward or back?  That remains to be seen.  Which way do we want to go?  What would it take to move us in either direction?  What I do know is that we cannot simply remain where we are for long.  We must intentionally  move forward or we will in time slide back by default.  There are no easy answers or quick fixes, we have work to do.

Last month I asked, “what do you believe God is capable of?”  This month I ask, “what are we supposed to be doing as a church and as individuals?”  In his book, Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell proposed that it takes a person ten thousand hours practice to become really good at something.  It isn’t a hard and fast rule, and it sounds like a great deal of time.  But suffice it to say, success, however we choose to measure it, doesn’t just happen, it takes effort.

While we in the church are uniquely dependent upon God for our future, compared to other organizations, that doesn’t mean we get to sit back and simply wait for God to do all the work for us.  We have a responsibility to do our part in gratitude for the Grace God has already shown us.  We need to be hard at work, perhaps not 10,000 hours, but diligent none-the-less, with the work of being the people and the church we are called to be.  Worshiping and praising God, spending time in prayer, caring for those in need, and focusing our lives on glorifying God in Jesus Christ, are among the many things we need to be doing if we are going to move forward into the future God intends for us.

As we look to tipping the teeter-totter forward, we will all have to pull together and get to work transforming our selves and our church.  What are the aspects of the Christian life that need to be a greater part of your ten thousand hours of practice?  What practices of the Christian Faith need greater attention in our congregation?  What is God capable of doing through you?  Lets discover it together, and give glory to God for all he has done, is doing, and will do.

May the peace and blessings of God, the joy of Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit be with you all,

Mitch