Welcome to Jubilee! Spring will come again!
Yesterday was a great day in that process. I drove through the countryside (and SUNSHINE--yee haw!) to a town near Stevens Point for a meeting. Yeah, I know. But this was a good meeting.
Our speaker, Mark Batterson, was one of the authors on the (now defunct) "Future AG" blog you might have seen in my links a while back. Future AG was designed as a place in the blogosphere for us to discuss our direction as we headed into our 2007 General Council.
Mark is one of the newer breed in the Assemblies of God. He's an author, energetic, articulate, intelligent, creative, and young. Listening to him makes me wish even more than ever that I had my 57-year-old wisdom (?) and experience but was in my 30s again! Man! How'd I get old so fast? I admit, I never thought I'd see the day when a guest speaker at an AG meeting dressed in faded blue jeans. We used to be pretty stuffy. That's changing, and that's a good thing.
It is exciting watching the new ways church is being done. Check out National Community Church where Mark is lead pastor. It's one church in several locations, and as I listened to Mark yesterday and then surfed around the church's website today--all I can say is, "I WANNA GO THERE!" We lived in Washington DC for several years when Ken was still in the USMC. I loved it-- and I hated it--but I'm so excited about the idea of church at Union Station! Their church is mosty 20-30 year olds. Think they will let me in if I visit? ;-)
What does this have to do with me? Well, as I focus, once again, on the future of my own congregation, I have to ask, "Can a church of under 100 in cow country really be relevant? Can we be creative? Can an AG church with a difficult history and that is over 30 years old find a new niche, and can a late middle aged woman pastor possibly reach out to a new generation? Won't our Catholic and Lutheran neighbors just be even more concerned about what is happening in that little church on the corner? Why am I still here?"
Of course, to ask myself those questions I have to stop whining, "How did I, a city girl, manage to turn into a small-town pastor? I'm too old, to tired, too ________. Why can't I be ministering to a diverse population? Wah, wah, wah..."
Yesterday got the creative part of my brain lighting up again. I'm feeling energized and enthusiastic. Hopeful. Kind of joyful.
Thanks, Mark! And thanks, God!
Just be sure to make a little room at the table for the 50-somethings (or more) among us who have young hearts and ideas. I'm so glad you like our new leader, George Wood, as much as I do. And I'm so excited about the AG's future if guys like you are at the center of the action.
As for me, I'm off to unpack my packed books and set up my office again.