I have spent this week in Richmond, Virginia, in a training conference sponsored by the Center for Congregational Health. Our teachers and facilitators, Beth Kennett and Chris Gambill, are committed professional church consultants, but they are also ministers who love the church (despite everything).
As we have talked this week about conflict, staff development, visioning and other topics, I have been reminded more than once that most issues in the life of a church are ultimately resolved by the Spirit of God. Several years ago, I heard Alan Roxburgh say, “The Spirit of God is among the people of God; therefore, the wisdom to address the challenges of witness and mission in a discontinuous environment exists among the people and needs to be called forth within each and every community.”
Most congregations have more resources available to them than they realize. These include gifted people, space, time, finances, and the Spirit of God. The challenge is to take the time to discern these resources before taking action.
The process we are learning emphasizes developing a climate that will encourage people to listen, hear, and attempt to understand each other and the Spirit. That is harder than it sounds! Such an approach takes commitment, patience, and openness. When it happens, one has stepped into a holy place where the unthinkable can happen.
(This is my 101st post. Where has the time gone? Thanks for your comments on these reflections that have encouraged and informed me.)