a fresh flowers original
copyright 2007, lani wiens
Since becoming a part of the pastoral team here in our beloved province I have had the privelege of being part of a number of events related to our denomination. There has been a lot of debate about the value of the church as an organized body, denominations, small groups and everything else in between. As a result we've seen people back away from the church, throw rocks at the bride and smear mud on her dress. As our denominational pastors and leaders met together this week I saw the strength of being part of a spiritual family on a broader plane than the local church. I witnessed first hand the strength, love and power of the body of Christ as it exists in the familial bonds that I happen to be a part of. Those bonds extend not only to the churches in our neck of the woods but to our nation and around the globe. Those bonds don't stop at our denominational borders but go to all those who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Early last week we took a few girls from our youth group to a Beautiful Unique Girl event. This was an excellent event speaking into the lives of young women of their beauty and purpose. Part of this event is a contest called the Power of One. It is an exciting challenge to the girls to see how they can affect change in their world as one person. They gave a number of examples of kids who have made a huge difference in the lives of exploited children and the homeless by simply choosing to do something about it. Our girls are very excited about this and have some excellent plans. However, after I thought about it I realized that these kids most likely wouldn't have been able to do what they did if someone else hadn't supported them in it. One example given was of a 5 year old girl who began collecting money for the homeless. Yes, it was definately her idea to do something, but her parents had to support her cause, drive her around and give her the go-ahead to do what she did. I'm guessing that our girls will only get so far with their ideas unless our church, our community and their families support what they want to do.
Our conference of pastors was most likely started by one brave soul who began pastoring a church, then there was another one and another one and here we are today over 30 churches strong in our province. During our retreat my husband and I had the privelege of being part of the worship team. As we practiced in the small room where our get togethers would be held our little team sounded loud to my ears. We weren't using any amplification but we seemed to fill the room...or so I thought. Then we all gathered together, pastors, wives, camp directors and ministry leaders. The room was full and so was the air. I could barely hear myself at all as my one voice joined with the others in praise to our God. It struck me how much louder and fuller the sound was with so many more voices blending together, I thought we might just raise the floor over our heads a few inches. It was an exhilirating time of worship and praise to our God.
Throughout the time together we shared joys, struggles, playful ribbing and times of prayer. It was an amazing thing to me to be joined together with so many others in the same purpose. We were not about our particular denomination or even our particular church. We were about fellows in the same ship, this business of shepherding, leading and nurturing souls towards the kingdom of God. Our denomination isn't perfect, our churches aren't perfect, our pastoral team isn't perfect but God is! We don't do church perfectly, we make mistakes, we let people down because we are imperfect human beings. But there is strength in being part of this team, in knowing that there is most likely someone else we can talk to who has had to walk through whatever it is we're walking through at the moment. This is the strength of spiritual family, the power of some!
May I be a voice to encourage you to go beyond your reticence and be a joiner. Get involved with your local church, encourage your pastor, cheer on your leaders. Grab someone else and bring them with you. When we all work together we will be a bright and shining light for the nations, a city on a hill that can't be hidden, a beacon of hope where there is none. Together.
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25