Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Struggle

Here I am sitting at my desk and I have knots in my stomach.

The last 48 hours have been a roller-coaster ride of emotions and life. Unfortunately, the last 48 hours have not been abnormal, they are normal. The life cycle seems to be constant in this manner. Here is a little snapshot of what I am talking about ---- and it will be brief.

Sunday night was a great night at Sunday Night Live. We had 45 individuals who attended. We had 30 children/youth and 15 adults. Out of those 45 individuals who attended, 30 of them are "new" to Zion. There is excitement in the air. The kids are really grasping the virtues and the parents are building relationships with one another.

However, there seems to be "regulars" who are no longer interested and stepping away for various reasons and that makes me sad and "forces" me to go back to the drawing board, on what I (we) can do to make them connected with the life of the church and for us to be community together (if that is even a possibility).

On Monday morning, I had the opportunity to work on details for a preteen mission trip. Once again, I am extremely excited and pumped about the 8 kids who are going and what we will do. However, I am saddened by those who are not choosing to team up with us. But, I am overjoyed that we have new children connected to the ministry who are willing to go on the trip ----- that simply ROCKS.

During the day on Monday, I had the opportunity to work with a number of individuals who are really working hard on getting jobs and turning their lives around. Then at the same time, I am connected with and watching people who are using and abusing the systems and making it so much harder on themselves and destroying opportunities for those who are really trying to get out of the system.

On Monday night, I walk into church council and am shell-shocked at the conversations and decisions/indecisions that are occurring. I try not to air bad things about the church and the ministry that is going on within our church, but this is where the struggle for me lies. We spent another 90 mins talking about capital campaign for our church (sanctuary repairs) that 55% of those connected with Zion never see or use.

The thing that really gets under my skin is the amount of time that we have been on this issue. We have been talking about it since I came on staff. Well, the conversations and planning occurred well before I came as well. The last two and half years we have spent entire meetings and additional meetings on capital campaign and we are still not even close on the repairs needed and the amount that it will take and how we will pay/finance it.

We have put off major ministry decisions all in the name of, we cannot do anything because it is capital campaign time. Here are a few small *cough* examples.

In 2008, we did not / would not make decisions on worship times because we did not want to upset people because we were getting ready to do a capital campaign.

In 2009, we did not do budget pledges or pleas for financial contributions because we were getting ready to do capital campaign.

In 2010, we cut our budgets well over 15% including mission and outreach because we are going to do capital campaign.

For 3 years, we have made decisions (non-decisions) because of the capital campaign and the capital campaign has not occurred. Not only has it not occurred but we may be further away from any answers.

What will it cost to fix the sanctuary ??? Maybe a million dollars or more. We do not know, it depends on the ceiling/roof, the brick and mortar and the stained glass window.

If, I believed that we are doing this because the building is a tool of ministry, I might bite or if we would pick up the speed of the campaign, we could do this, or if we talked about ministry and not let this affect ministry ... or ... the list could go on.

In my dream world, I would love to see what would happen to us (Zion) and other churches if we (them/us) spent the amount of money we do on buildings on ministry. What would happen if we spent the 200+ hours of meeting time talking about ministry, reaching people and serving instead of talking about how we are going to "fix/repair" the building.

Then today, I had a wonderful conversation with a friend for about 45 minutes about Sunday Night live, the mission trips, the teens that are coming to our church and what is happening. There are some great things occurring. We are making a difference.

Unfortunately at times, these highs are wiped out for me because of the "negative".

I really wish that we could focus our time and energy loving and serving and ministering with people instead of talking about the building and unfortunately when I hear the building talk, I hear preserving history and not building a future for those we can/are reaching.

So, I struggle. This is a little longer than I promised and there is a lot more that I could write on about this .... more later.


Alan Knox said...

Thank you for your service to people and the difference you are making in so many lives. Don't grow weary in doing good... and don't let others distract you from God is doing through you.

Praying for you.


Thoughts From Jeff said...


Thanks for the words, I appreciate it. I think that the focus is the "distract".

I need to make sure that I am not distracted.

Angie said...

Hang in there boo...such is life in the American church, you are not alone in your struggle. I will keep you lifted in prayer. Love you!