A fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit upon us
“Relief!” This is the word scribbled in my calendar on September 19. The reason? With temperatures having been well above 90ºF through June, July, August, and the first half of September, I leapt for joy when the high that day was only 72ºF! It was so lovely that I took my lunch and sat in our memorial garden for a good hour or so.
It’s funny, I pass the memorial garden everyday – at least twice, in fact, probably more. Yet, it wasn’t until that autumnal September day that I spent very long there. Was it a quiet experience? Not really. Between Six Forks traffic, fire engine sirens, playground noise and the active squirrel population it wasn’t particularly quiet. However, it was peaceful. As I sat in that peaceful environment, I got thinking how appropriate the illustration of a garden is for describing St. Timothy’s Church at this time.
When we see a beautiful garden what we’re seeing is the by-product of hours of labor and love – much of which is done without anything to show for it. However, good preparation and hard graft [editor’s note: graft is a British slang for hard work], as well as being blessed by necessary water and sunshine, will yield new growth and will bring a garden to life.
Our church is very similar. If we want to see new growth then we need to “labor in” and love our church just like we would a garden. This doesn’t mean destroying everything and starting all over either!
Some areas are doing well and just need to be encouraged to keep on growing, while other areas probably need some real work. This isn’t unique to our church; instead its what God calls us to do for his sake. After all, he is the Lord of the Harvest and he’s in constant need of good laborers (Matthew 9:38).
With these ideas in mind, our theme for both our 2020 pledge season, as well as our Service of New Ministry back on September 10, has been “New Life, New Ministry.” New life – new people, new opportunities to serve, a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit upon us – these are what we say we want to see come to pass.
For that to happen though, we need new ministry opportunities as well as a renewed commitment to the essential ministry already taking place. Imagine how different our Sunday worship, our mid-week meetings, or our pastoral care could be with in influx of new energy and ideas. But imagine too how much more could be done: engagement with hundreds of people who are part of our St. Timothy’s school family; closer working partnership with other churches and our diocese; boldly asking God to show us who the people are right under our noses who he’s desperate for us to reach.
Picking up on the garden theme from before, Bill Wilson, from the Centre for Healthy Churches, said this: “Plants do not live in a vacuum. The mixed ecology of plant life means that the health of a garden or plant is interdependent in relationship to other plants, insects, context, weather, and a host of other factors. Churches live out their calling in the context of a specific time and place. They partner and collaborate with a multitude of others in order to accomplish their unique Kingdom agenda.”
Bill is right. We need to avoid longing for St. Timothy’s Church return to the way it was at some point in the past. Instead, we must rely on one another and work together if, with God’s help, we are going to see the garden that is St. Timothy’s Church flourish for years to come. I’m in, fellow laborer – are you?
Your faithful co-worker,