Welcome to EFC’s new monthly blog. Feel free to comment with name suggestions; puns are welcomed but unlikely to be embraced. I hope to use this blog as another format for communicating where we are at and where I believe we are going as a church.
So, where are we at and where are we going?
I am glad you asked. At Worship 360 at the end of August, two people separately shared how God had given them the image of a rose bush that had been pruned back and how that was necessary for the bush to bear quality flowers. In my mind, I instantly saw a rose “stump” — nothing but three short sticks maybe three inches high — and I thought, “Yep, that’s our church.” The promise was that the pruning season was over and new growth was to come.
This is exactly what I see God doing among us. I have never been part of a church with the kind of authentic, collaborative worship that has begun to sprout among us. We are learning to be a temple of the Holy Spirit — participating together, ministering as a team, functioning as a body — and wow, is it fun!
Amid the pruning and the change, we are finally becoming a place where people feel safe enough to begin to use their gifts with one another. It is my hope and conviction that this freedom is just the beginning. The Holy Spirit seems to move most freely in a context where people trust one another, and we are beginning to trust one another. We have lots of learning still ahead regarding how to do this practically, but it is becoming clear that honoring and loving God is intimately connected to honoring and protecting one another.
I understand we will make mistakes, and one of these Sundays is sure to be a hot mess. However, rather than being a church that puts lots of energy into avoiding messes, we are becoming a church that wholeheartedly seeks the presence of God. With enough humility and the grace and commitment to cleaning up our messes, we will learn and truly grow. We will see God in ways that can only happen with the pruning and fertilizing that comes through making mistakes together.
Do you sense the hope rising? I do, and I am so excited to see the new, quality flowers our church will bear.
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge
—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
Ephesians 3:17-21 NIV