My heart leaped for joy at the power of the resounding “Aye’s” in the business meeting as the believers vigorously affirmed a willingness to embrace a new vision for our church! After many painful struggles, our church has decided to focus on becoming “outward” focused in ministry, to truly live out the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37-39) AND the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). I’m broken hearted for all those who decided to walk away from this particular church during the difficult struggle, but as I contemplate John 15, I rest in the knowledge that God has done some agonizing pruning in order to facilitate a season of fruitfulness that we can only imagine!
For the present there is work to do. My work: to make sure that my heart lines up with the vision. As a church, we are entering a season of mourning, confession, and repentance. Consequently, I have been praying and searching my heart in preparation for this season, so that I can enjoy a rich season of fruit-bearing which will surely follow. I am reminded of Joshua and how he must have felt as Israel was about to finally enter the promise land. If ever there was a time for Central Baptist Church “to be strong and courageous”, this is it.
I want to weed out more of my selfishness, my need to be “right”, and intentionally seek a spirit of unity and singleness of mind. I want to put my pride behind me along with my own agenda and replace it with His agenda! I want to be so in love with Jesus and His plan that I am willing to set aside any programs and ministries I might have thought were mine and lay them on the altar. For this change of heart to succeed it must be a work of the Holy Spirit and my job is to submit to that Holy Spirit, period. That will require strength and courage.
I suppose one might say that this is a pivotal moment for Central Baptist Church. As we stand on the threshold of the “promise land”, we have to make the decision to put replace our words with action and live it out. We must be “strong and courageous” and trust what God is doing in our church and as such, be prepared to love the communities in which we live, to show the people around us love, regard, and inclusion instead of judgment, disregard and exclusion. My prayer for our church is to figure out what Jesus would do here in Middleboro, Lakeville, Carver, Taunton, and wherever we live and do what Jesus would be doing, love whom Jesus would love, and further the kingdom of God in today’s world. “Father may your will be done on earth, and in my heart, as it is in heaven.” Amen!