But the conversation was specific in a sense. We needed to talk about where we are as a church and where we perhaps are heading. Now those of you who work for the government know that this kind of task can be daunting and usually is. No different for a church body. We did a lot of thinking. We talked a great deal. We listened to each other. We took notes. We had room to disagree, too.
It gave us much food for thought and gave the Vitality Committee a great deal to go on with regard to leading our church into a healthy, missional group of people.
We reiterated what we have come to already know....that Gateway is a group of people, directed by God's Spirit, who genuinely care for people...in the church building and in the community. We care. We love. We act that care and love out in deeds.
So, what are some things that we don't know about ourselves. I don't think we know or realize exactly how much of an impact we are having on our neighborhood...our children, our city. We simply go about doing the things that are required of us. Sometimes we are fearful. Other times we feel totally inadequate...but we go anyway. We do....anyway. God's Spirit enables us as we do...and go.
The next steps of course will be the refining of what we are already doing. Getting better at it. Perhaps branching out into other avenues of the same ministry....all we need are willing hearts and hands and the jobs will be done....the Kingdom of God kinds of jobs like loving our neighbors, meeting their needs and those of their families. It's hard work but is all worth it in the end...the end, of course, being the end of our lives as we know them. But there will be folks to take up these challenges when we are no longer around. They may be totally different kinds of challenges...they probably will be. After all, Gateway is not the same church as it was when it began in 1947, or as it was in 1974 or in the year 2000. We are a changing, growing, living entity where people come and go, where people are changed in the midst of that coming and going and where people can come into the presence of the living God.
It's all good...but ya....hard work....really, really hard work. Loving takes lots of energy and time and so we continue on as a group of loving and caring individuals who allow themselves to be daily changed into the likeness of God. As one gal put it today, if our hearts are turned towards God and our desire is to serve Him, good things will happen. (paraphrase) And I totally agree!!!
Here we are, hard at work, talking and listening....
There was food left over....imagine!!!!
Some of us had naps:)
Grandmas looked after babies.
Some played "hide and seek".
The adults did a lot of thinking...the kids just had fun.
New granddaughters were a part of the "Conversation" too!
So, you get an idea of what transpired for two hours today. I think we are better people for having been a part of this conversation. It was a place too, where new folks were heard and their opinions were validated. That in itself, is worth gathering together!
I thank God for today.....