Friday, November 23, 2007

For churches not growing

I've been fortunate to serve churches which were willing and able to grow, and feel blessed to have been able to lead and assist that growth. But I've also lived out a period of non-growth; a decade in which we did mostly the same things we'd been doing and have done since, plus a building project, and the church see-sawed around on a plateau. There's no doubt in my mind that all the good intention and skill of minister and congregation together can't "produce" growth. I have a favorite reading on this subject, which is also a great reading for Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and to email to folks whose kids have taken an unexpected turn towards difficulty.

Do everything right,

all the time, and the child will prosper. It’s as simple as that, except for fate, luck, heredity, chance, the astrological sign under which the child was born, the order of her birth, his first encounter with evil, the boy who gilts her in spite of her excellent qualities, the war that is being fought when he is a young man, the drugs she may try once or too many times, the friends she makes, how he scores on tests, how well she endures kidding about her shortcomings, how ambitions he becomes, how far she falls behind, circumstantial evidence, ironic perspective, danger when it is least expected, difficulty in triumphing over circumstances, people with hidden agendas, and animals with rabies.” -Ann Beattie, from Picturing Will

Of course, it's all so important, our children, and our churches, that we do our best in spite of all the possible ways things might derail.

1 comment:

ms. kitty said...

Great reading, Christine, thanks.

I've very much enjoyed your reflections from the conference/training you attended recently. Thanks for those too.