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Let the Church — part 2 in a series

July 5, 2017

“What ARE you doing in that church?!” he asked me.

We were in the Vendor Display Area at Annual Conference, right after Haley Chapel won that award. (If this doesn’t sound familiar, don’t panic; just scroll down two entries here and read what I wrote Monday called Outstanding, part 1 in a series.)

His was one of many similar questions friends and colleagues bombarded me with, such as —

“How much did all the changes you made cost?”

“What seminar did you go to, and how many church members went with you?”

“C’mon, what’s your secret sauce?”

— and a few odd ones I’ll not repeat here.

The first couple of times I explained in detail some of what Haley Chapel United Methodist Church was doing, but I noticed the questioners’ eyes glazing over. When I’d finished, they began telling me about their experiences in churches.

I shifted gears with the next handful of people, carefully listing what I’d codified into five things. They interrupted me around number three or four. Then they’d tell me about what was going on where they were.

By the second day after that award, here’s where I landed: “Ya know, none of us are as bad as we’re afraid we are at this stuff. But we’re not as good as we’d like to pretend we are, either.”

Pause.

Wait for the nod from the other person.

“Probably the best thing we can do is to try and be faithful to who God’s calling us to be. And then do what God’s calling us to do now, before we try and do what’s next.”

A couple actually reached for something and wrote that down. I hoped they caught my line about doing “what God’s calling us to do now, before we try and do what’s next.”

I concluded quickly, “Most importantly, let the church be the church.”

My friend Bill McCluney reminded me of all this recently.  This morning he gave me permission to share a recurrent line from his mom: “You’re as good as anybody, but no better than anyone else.”

St. Paul’s nodding at that, remembering that he wrote, I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you. (Romans 12:3)

Simple summary? God’s still in business.

 

 

 

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