Sometimes It's Just Disheartening...
And sometimes things just seem to unravel in the pastorate. Just spoke with one half of a couple who've been "missing" this month and aparrently, the incident in December, concerning coordinating a funeral luncheon, is such an issue with such hurt feelings that they will probably leave the church.
Which brings up a couple things: Where is forgiveness? Are we only members when all is well and good. Living in community is hard. We get our feelings hurt, we hurt other's feelings. How do we live into the forgiveness we have been given in Christ and called to forgive as we have been forgiven?
Where is that church where everyone knows your name and everyone gets along perfectly?
How easy it is to lose our focus. In the middle of a busy Advent season with every person under stress of preparing, hosting family, etc. comes the death of a long-time member and a family in need of finding comfort and hope and being loved in their grief. Isn't that what Christ calls us to? To let go of the busyness and embrace the need of the moment. Am I way off base here?
The Women's Association Coordinator, after a strong Sunday morning announcement that made me cringe, and who named several women to a committee without asking them first, resigned, mostly due to health reasons. She has a very strong, abrasive personality and I accepted her resignation with love and a thank you for all of her work in this past year. She will be laying low for a bit. (She really has been a work horse in the churh for years, and done a lot.) Now she is feeling weak and not able to do all that she has before.
We, the small church we are, are losing rather than gaining members and it is disheartening. And I am beginning to wonder just what God had in mind for me here?
Is all my preaching falling on deaf ears? What of all the interactive experiences in worship, have they all been for naught?
I am aware that this one couple has left churches before, and so this may be a pattern or they were looking to leave and that was the one last straw.
But sometimes it does get discouraging when I look at very aged congregation, shriveling choir, and very few visitors who don't come back even though they are welcomed, invited to coffee hour (when we have them) and people speak to them.
so, in the midst of bleak, grey, cold midwinter, that is what I'm feeling inside.
In the meanwhile, I pray for wisdom, for guidance, for direction, and to not lose heart.