I know God acts in His own time, and that He has a plan. But waiting for that plan can be frustrating.
I’ve been a part of my church ‘family’ since the beginning- about 15 years. In that time we’ve had 3 pastors, worshiped in at least 6 locations including a movie theater, a school (twice) and a Y. We’ve had attendance in the low 100’s, and had as few as the 40’s. We have 2 young ladies & 2 couples from the church itself serving in the mission field. We had a member arrested for bank robbery, a guy die from AIDS, another commit suicide, and a woman wrote a somewhat threatening letter to an abortion provider. We asked her to leave the church.
We’ve got a community garden that’s a nice outreach to our neighbors-couples & families from different parts of the world enjoyed it last year. We’ve got a good VBS program, a spring & fall festival we put on for the community, a new men’s group, a great small/home group program, a Bible study in a local school and have taken part in a city-wide clean up program. We’ve got a great facility.
But it’s frustrating that despite the great things we have, we’re struggling. We’re not seeing much growth in terms of numbers. Recently, in fact, we seem to be shrinking. Money’s tight. Two years ago our pastor, who’d been with us about 10 years, took a position at the conference level. We spent about a year with an interim pastor, brought in a wonderful young woman last Spring, and lost her due to some personal health issues last month. So once again, we’re in kind of a ‘reset’ mode. It’ll be as much as two years before we get someone permanent on staff. Fortunately the denomination has a young couple coming in on Sunday to candidate as our interim pastors. They’re engaged, and fresh out of seminary, so we’d have co-pastor’s like we did when we first started as a church many years ago. They’ll be with us for about a year, and at that point we’ll start the search process again. They might submit their names as candidates for the position, or they might not. We’ll just have to wait and see.
I just got home from meeting them. The meeting wasn’t what I expected, though. I thought we’d all sit down & do kind of a Q&A with them, like we did when Bea was here last year. This was much more of a chat session, getting to know them. They’ll preach tomorrow, and we’ll follow up with a potluck (yum!) and more time to get to know them. Next Sunday we’ll take a vote on whether we want them as interim (and if they want to be our interim) pastors.
But despite all the frustrations & the setbacks, we’re incredibly blessed. We don’t face the opposition churches & Christians in other parts of the world do. We don’t face the hatred & violence Christians in the Middle East face. The radical group Boko Haram, for example, has killed 180 Christians, including 60 kids, and destroyed 20 churches in Nigeria. Churches in other parts of the world are censored if their teachings might offend someone.