What is your only comfort?

Urban God-talk for the church-o-phobic.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Little things

I remember going out for brunch with some friends after my first Sunday preaching at the Greenpoint Reformed Church. We were all very excited about the possibility of the congregation. Even though there were just a handful of people, I found it to be a remarkably healthy ministry (when I would say this most people would laugh, but it's true). Sure, there were only ten to twelve folks and they hadn't had a pastor in ages. It was a place that was ripe for ministry, and everyone at the brunch agreed it was going to be exciting.

That was more than two years ago. In the months after that brunch there were moments when I thought that God might have abandoned our little congregation. I realize now that I am at my core a very impatient person, and that I just needed to settle down a bit and enjoy small church life. Someone pointed out to me that the first months and years of any adventure always seem the hardest, but they are the times you'll look back to fondly.

Those first months taught me of the importance of prayer and of relying on God like never before. I witnessed the faithfulness of our small group of folks and their willingness to put all of their hearts into ministry. And now that I can look back on it, I can see just how much fun it was to be in ministry together.

In all honesty, it didn't take too long for things to change at our church. A number of new families started coming and quickly became active in the ministry of the church. Last year one of the elders put together a list of all the things we did in terms of outreach for 2004. I couldn't believe that we had done as much as we did. Slowly we were developing more and more as a congregation. Our spiritual life deepened, our congregation grew in number, our building became cleaner and more efficient. Without noticing it, we were serving God in new ways.

Yesterday we reached another point in our redevelopment. We had our first consistory election in a number of years and added three new deacons. Each of these folks is committed to God and to our congregation.

Another small thing occurred yesterday. With my parents having moved out of what we called "the big house" to a much smaller cottage, we weren't entirely sure what to do about Thanksgiving. Vanessa and Jen and I came up with the idea of holding a Thanksgiving dinner in Greenpoint where everyone in the church and the community could come and enjoy the day. During the announcements, I suggested that anyone interested in the idea could meet after the service. By the time I made it to the social hall, they had already determined that the Thanksgiving dinner idea should be implemented and had created a list of who was in charge of doing what. I couldn't quite believe it.

Most days I wish that I could be a full time pastor with a big enough congregation to support me in full time ministry. In fact, I'm a little jealous of full-time ministers who can devote all of their hours to ministry. It's a real luxury. But then, I wonder if I'd have the opportunity to enjoy the little things like new deacons and turkey dinners. Sometimes my friends ask how it is that I can find such joy in a job that doesn't pay much and requires so much of my effort. I don't know, but I suspect that the joy comes from the little things.


Post a Comment

<< Home