Recently, I have been taking time to reflect on the quality of life at Christ Presbyterian Church. I think that it’s important to step back and make sure that what I think I am seeing is actually the truth. I have known many Pastors who have looked at the congregations they serve with rose colored glasses. Part of this discipline is making sure that I look at the congregation with God’s eyes. In doing this I am forced to ask, “Does God like what He sees?” instead of asking, “Do I like what I see?” This is a dynamic shift in perspective. I will readily admit that like all of you, my view of the world is not always a view shared by God. Last week I spoke about how our summer worship has been a healthy sign to us that God is working in our midst to make our congregation vital.
This got me thinking about what are some other places where we are seeing vitality? I thought I would share some of the strengths that I believe are signs of our congregational vitality. This could be a dangerous act. I am sharing these thoughts to help us affirm God’s presence and how God is working in our midst. This isn’t intended to be a “RA! RA!” session about all the things we are doing right. Often in church and other areas of our lives we tend to focus on the negatives and our weaknesses. I believe that by sharing my thoughts on our strengths we can utilize them in even greater ways.
First and foremost I believe that Christ Presbyterian Church is blessed with a diverse congregational makeup. While this may not be as deep as we would like, I think we are open to God expanding our diversity. Our greatest diversity is actually a diversity that isn’t visible at first glance. Christ Presbyterian is a community that is filled with members that both share common faith in Christ but also varied expressions of that faith. This
diversity includes theological, political and social differences. I believe this is a blessing because we have been able to maintain respect and love in spite of our divergent perspectives. This has been clearly expressed recently in our worship. We have experienced such an eclectic musical program this summer, and yet I sense that everyone has been blessed. The past three weeks have included a traditional communion anthem, VBS rap, guitars, and violin instrumentals.
We are also blessed with a spirit of flexibility. Presbyterians are often thought of as stuffy and inflexible people. I will admit that this is the very faith I grew up in. Yet at Christ Presbyterian Church we have been able to be flexible and open to the Spirit’s leading. Sure sometimes this means we are a bit uncomfortable. Nonetheless, we are able to go with the Spirit and find communion with God and one another. This weeks picnic is a great example of how our flexibility has led us to vitality in the Spirit. Even though the threatening weather caused a change of plans, I saw a congregation that had great fellowship and wonderful food. Without an understanding that things can be fluid, the picnic would have been a “failure.”
Finally, I believe that we have a congregation that is extremely generous. Over the past four plus years I have seen the generosity of our congregation grow and transform. Each member not only gives as much as they can, but I believe does so with a cheerful and grateful heart. This is a hallmark of a healthy Christian life as well as a vital congregation. The generosity of our congregation shows in everything we do. From the time and talents shared in our VBS program, to our 2100 pounds of WFCM contributions.
Again, I point out these areas of our life together to highlight the blessings of God in our midst. Please don’t take them as accomplishments that we have achieved. Also, I beg that you don’t take them as my personal achievements. The blessings of God are just that, of God. Give thanks to God for all that we are and all that we are becoming.