Sunset clouds; cloudy thoughts

Posted by seanho on Sun 22 October 2006

Hmm, well I'm kinda bummed today, to be honest, though I don't really know why. This morning at church I sat in on the Mandarin service: it was very encouraging, and the sermon was great, too. Afterward there was a lunch at church, but I wasn't quite sure if I ought to go to that, and I don't really like big crowds anyway. So I ended up having a relaxing solo lunch at a quiet little pub on Clark and Kingsway; that was nice. In the afternoon I popped in on the study room at KS to take a look, and ended up helping a couple students with their calculus and geography. That was pretty relaxing, too -- as long as I deliberately forgot about my own lengthy to-do list!

Church is still just a bit frustrating for me. I'm looking for people I can cowork with, people who are serving because they really enjoy it, not because of obligation or misplaced "commitment", and who want to share that vision and ministry with others -- it's not "my" ministry, but God's ministry. So far I've found a few people who do their jobs very well, and whom I admire, but it's been really slow going to see if they'll actually let me in to cowork with them. Maybe it just takes time. It would be easy for me to strike out on my own, to initiate my own ministry with my own vision and plan -- and who knows, that may yet happen in the future -- but I also know that I can't be a "lone ranger", that teamwork is essential.

Oddly enough, the group that I've found so far that best exhibits the positive attitude towards ministry I'm looking for is the Mandarin congregation. It's just the right size, there is a genuine family atmosphere across all ages, and they really know how to welcome people and train up disciples at all stages of the Christian walk. They choose to look at the potential in people, rather than the deficiencies. The result is vibrancy, warmth, and spiritual growth. Just today, in the sermon, Pastor Alfred made a joking reference to Frank, and (1) everyone knew who Frank was, and (2) everyone knew Frank well enough to get the joke, even those who hadn't been coming for long. I think that says a lot about the relational atmosphere! I wish we in English service could learn from them -- I know the numbers make it difficult, but I also think a lot of people see the backs of 400 heads and don't even try to step out of their insular group, instead putting up walls in the name of "building authentic relationships". I've said before, authenticity is not predicated on exclusivity. We as mature Christians ought to be able to be authentic with everyone.

OK, this is turning into a polemic; I'll get off my soapbox now. I have to learn to be less of a trouble-maker and boat-rocker like my dad, and more of a peace-maker!

tags: church,