Ay, I've been quite sparse in blogging this month! Perhaps it means I've been less introspective/contemplative.... ;)
Today I was supposed to speak to the teens at FL, but I ended up not being needed, so I got a rare opportunity to sit through an entire Sunday School class at KS! Here Julie is explaining some approaches to conflict resolution.
I looked back through my calendar, and much to my surprise I've only been able to attend an entire KS SS class two other times this year, due to teaching Sunday School at CCGC, preaching in Teens' Worship at VCAC, preaching at SVPGC, and several retreats and other ministry opportunities. I still consider VCAC my new "home base" church, and I care very deeply about the people here, but it would be nice if it were a bit more of a "sending" church.
Below is an excerpt from an email I sent recently asking two friends of mine to help with worship; it touches on this topic of motivating by encouragement rather than by guilt:
Because it is a very different mindset from the way our church works, I want to reassert the reason why I invite you to worship along with me at prayer meeting, and what my philosophy of ministry is:
- God doesn't need us, but He chooses to use us despite our weakness.
- It is a joy to serve Jesus, as it is He who wills and who works in us, not our own strength.
- Because I've experienced this joy, I want to share it with others!
Here's how this philosophy plays out in the context of prayer meeting:
- I don't "need" you to play piano/sing (hey, we don't need to sing any songs at prayer meeting!) -- but I choose you, value you, and appreciate you.
- I personally love worshiping in music, and I love worshiping together as a team! It's what keeps me going, and it's in my blood! It takes the focus off of myself and the church's problems, and onto Christ -- so refreshing and energizing and humbling! Same thing for prayer! Gets me riled up and down on my knees!
- I love you guys, and want for you to enjoy a little bit of serving God in a context of freedom and joy, rather than guilt and obligation.
Please don't come to prayer meeting because you "have to", because people are expecting you to, or because it's written into the membership covenant. Please come because there is real joy and power when we are on our knees before God, who alone can change hearts and revive our church. Please come because our frustrations with the church (mine included) can find release only as we cast our cares upon Jesus, when we pray together as brothers and sisters.