North County Campus Project Manager, Greg Rhodes, wonders if the Messiah community is as confident in God as it is in its own competencies. Read on.
When our kids were young, occasionally my wife Heidi and I would declare, "Let's go." The kids would always ask, "Where are we going?"
Imagining we were clever and fun, parents every child would want, we'd respond, "You'll see." We had some surprise in mind. It might be a run for ice cream. It might be a trip to the coast for the day. One day we woke them early with a surprise trip to Disneyland; our daughter was sure she'd be in trouble with her fourth grade teacher for missing school.
When our son was about 12 he declared from the back seat, "I hate this." Because he was 12 he didn't say, "Hey, I'd rather just know where we're going. It's not fun for me to be in the dark."
People at Messiah are asking, "Where are we going?" They are much more gracious than a 12 year old, but there's some of the same anxiety that it's not fun to be in the dark.
The recent discernment process resulted in a clear sense that Messiah is being called to carry its gifts into a new time, to try some things differently. However, it did not result in a 5-year plan. The next step moves us into the mist; we can't clearly see where the path leads. That's not a failure of discernment or the leaders and people of Messiah. I think God put Messiah exactly where God wanted us to be.
That doesn't mean that we wouldn't be more comfortable with a plan!
Which causes me to wonder (in the spirit of Godly Play®): what is God doing here? I certainly don't claim to understand the mind of God, but this thought has occurred to me: Messiah is a highly-competent congregation. There are great gifts and talents here. There has been good success. In the midst of this perhaps we have become as confident in our own capacities as we are in God.
Perhaps God is inviting us to surrender our desire for control and our confidence in our own abilities. Our future lies in God's hands and our willingness to take the next step, to bring everything we have in faith, despite our uncertainties or desire to control.
We're going to try some new things at Messiah. Some will work in terms we understand. Some may only have utility in ways God understands. But we can offer our best (if imperfect) efforts in gratitude for the grace God bestows upon us and in confidence that God will use it as needed.
Soon we'll be taking first steps. Maybe you'll even suggest some steps, or lead a new idea. May we be confident in God and gracious with each other as we take risks and work for the Kingdom of God.