Feet of clay

I used to think that God only used certain types of people. They were good looking and had straight teeth and were confident. They were always entertaining when they spoke and they inspired their followers with confidence. I like actually meeting people God is using. Turns out that a lot of them are shy. Some of them are awkward one-on-one. They are extroverts and introverts and some of them can't organize themselves out of a paper bag. It takes all types. Not one of them is "normal". Jim Collins says that charisma is a liability for a leader. Guess we should have figured that out by the fact that God chose a stutterer to be his spokesperson, the runt of the litter to be his greatest king, and a half-crazy fisherman to lead his church. Kind of nice to know that God can use me.

Facing up

In Breakout Churches, Thom Rainer writes:
Good churches do not become breakout churches until the leaders confront reality. And most church leaders are unable or unwilling to confront reality...The leaders of breakout churches are do not hesitate to look at the statistics of their churches, even if the reality of the numbers is painful. They insist on having a clear awareness of the state of the church.
Later on, he writes that in three of the churches in the study, "laypeople experienced a wake-up call prior to the senior pastor." He emphasizes that this "facing up" is accompanied by unswerving faith and a desire to move into something better. This resonates with me. I'm humbled that senior pastors can often be the last to sense what is so obvious to everyone else. This has been the case with me. I've often been surprised how much better others sense what God is doing or not doing ahead of me. People everywhere are experiencing this "facing up" moment. They're facing up to reality and believing that there is something better. Sometimes others are way ahead of the pastors. When people all over are doing this, I have to think God is up to something. Something good, actually.

Signs of life

Encouraging day today. Hung out at home a little more than usual and took it slow. Two encouraging meetings took place today. One was with Mike Todd. Mike is one of the first bloggers I started reading. I was excited to finally be able to meet him today. We shared lunch and gabbed. He said a lot of good things. I hope he writes a book but if he doesn't, I'm stealing his stuff and publishing it. I walked away encouraged by what God is doing in his life, and grateful to have made a face-to-face connection. Tonight, our church board met. We've been having some really good meetings this year, facing up to where we are and rethinking what we ought to be doing. I wish I could report that we have all the solutions but we don't. What we do have is a set of three really good priorities and a strong desire to act on them. I have the sense that we're not just playing the church game, we're actually trying to get into some Kingdom business. That was a good day. As Samuel Pepys would say, "and so to bed."

Easter weekend

Easter weekend was good overall. I thought we had one of our better Good Friday services. Sunday was okay, but it fell a little flat compared to what I thought it should be. Next year I'd love to do a Maundy Thursday service. Nothing fancy, maybe a little foot washing and communion. That would be cool. I have been longing for something deeper lately. I know this isn't just me, but there is this desire for substance and a sense of missing the liturgy and some of the hymns. I'm glad to be learning from some of my liturgical friends these days.