Thursday, August 25, 2011

Getting Down to the List


Keith had just gotten home from taking the kids out for hamburgs. It was agreed that they would stay three more days with Gramma. She was loving it and in no hurry to see them leave.

Tomorrow morning would be the final trip to the Hamilton hospital. Beth was coming home. For the last hour he had been cleaning up some of his "bachelor's mess". Now it was time for rest and reflection in the quiet house. Outside, the threatenings of an approaching thunderstorm. He was reminded of the rainy morning of Beth's accident.

He took out from his desk the new "Working File" compiled from parishioners' suggestions for change at the assembly. It contained a wide range of ideas, not all of which would need big time for launching. He reminded himself not to be in a hurry to mess with the good stuff already in operation.

A theme had been formulating over the past few days: "He must get the glory. Not us." He had sensed sadly that a number of projects in the past had had a regrettable "yeah for our team" spirit about them. It would no longer be what we were accomplishing "here at Crosspoints Community Church"; rather what was Jesus accomplishing?

He almost knew the list now by heart:

1. Consider once a month a single joint service unhurried by the pace or requirements of two Sunday morning services.
2. Consider once a month allowing most of the children to remain with their parents and to participate in all the worship.
3. Launch the discussion group for college students.
4. Designate once a month for a time of testimony from the floor with a "wandering mike". What has God done? How has a piece of scripture become a personal milestone?
5. Gather a group of a dozen or so volunteers to help on a rotating basis at the local Food Bank.
6. Gather a group of six or so volunteers to help the Chaplain at the Hospital with visitation. (Beth had heard a lot about this possibility at Hamilton.)
7. Resist the temptation for summer slow-down in almost all program areas. "Time at the cottage or in travel" should no longer be an excuse for catching the Army of God asleep or otherwise occupied.
8. Re-assign a portion of the Missions budget to general operations at the Downtown House of Friendship for men in transition.
9. Arrange personal visits with those who have submitted Visitors' Cards or other notification. Forget the complimentary gifts. They need to hear from people of faith. Not a hard-sell for membership, but simply an outreach in the spirit of Christ.
10. Sponsor a Christian writing event with different age categories in the winter. Give some of the participants program recognition and publish (modestly) a few of the outstanding pieces.
11. Celebrate Holy Communion more frequently.
12. Involve more parishioners in the reading of scripture from the front. This might even chop into sermon time.
13. Allow more of the members of good standing to deliver messages instead of the Pastor.
14. Conduct workshops on the gifts and operation of the Holy Spirit.
15. Sponsor "pray for one another" evenings at the Church; also "intercede for the Community" evenings or afternoons.
16. Endorse a periodic "Church of the Ages" gathering where members of the Seniors' Bible Study would meet with some of our Young Adults to exchange insights, questions and wonder. This could be a particular delight for the Seniors.
17. Discontinue the visiting Missions work crews and offer instead cash or full-time ambassadors or exchange students to our brothers and sisters abroad.
18. Re-introduce some of our old favoured Hymn Book selections back into the worship mix.

Keith had been surprised and encouraged by the quality of the suggestions. Many of them resonated with him and with Beth and other friends invited thus far into the process.

Outside the grumblings of thunder had been replaced by a refreshing wind.

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