Monday, 19 March 2012

At this place of transition

I'm wondering if a part of our struggle is that we haven't really begun to transition.

If a key person or people move on in an organisation, the temptation is almost overwhelming to replace them, to look around and see who can be recruited and put them in that slot. For Heyford Park Chapel, Ian and Erika were a huge part of the structure and in a very real sense everything revolved around them and how they saw things should work. They brought ability and strength that was unique to them and much of what the chapel did was rooted in their ministry.

I realised this while writing to a good friend this morning. For the Sunday morning meeting we've barely changed a thing, apart from the actual songs we sing (and many of those are still the same). This Sunday, as with all the others when I've lead worship recently, I found myself doing 'what Erika did' trying to involve the kids. I started off leading them walking with big comic steps to the song "I walk by faith" marching round the church. Eventually they realised they could go faster by walking normally - and did, getting away from me and not playing the game any more. The silly thing is - it's not me - I don't do silly walks and playing like that.

It has made me realise how much we're trying to replace them, instead of trying to do what we've been called to do as ourselves.

I'm seeing how true this is with my struggles over the way worship is. We've been using CDs because I don't have the ability to produce enough of a sung performance to carry everyone when they do what they want to do for worship. The church has not experienced everyone bringing their contribution so we all carry the worship together frequently enough to feel comfy with it, so right now that doesn't work. There's another key element too, in that there is a situational expectation: in another very small and intimate setting I've seen some who struggle with communal worship moving freely, worshipping and singing in the Spirit quite freely.

Now we've asked for people to step forward to cover several roles: Sunday school, pastoral organisation, singers and musicians for worship (probably others I've forgotten) yet no-one has stepped forward. I'm wondering if, rather than being hard hearted, instead people are being obedient and not coming forward because we are trying to do something we've not been called to do. I'm starting to see what I think is a pattern in this, not that I know the shape of things to come, but that the shape we were isn't the shape we are called to be or one that represents who we are.

We're going to need a lot of grace for each other in this stage, because that shape is going to feel very scratchy and uncomfortable as we move across each other into place, and some are likely to be unhappy about it for a while.

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