Tonight was our “information sharing” meeting where our Exploratory Team (“scouts”) presented their report after months of prayer, discussion, and data gathering. Essentially, they are recommending that our three churches unite as one congregation.
The presentation came together at the last minute (though we’ve been working on it for a while). Our scouts did an excellent job leading, interacting, and responding to questions and comments, which were sometimes very negative. I am proud of them!
I will post one bit of our devotion from this evening. This was a litany that I wrote this morning that included a part for each team member to read, parts for all the scouts to read together, and parts for the congregation. You may notice that it flows out of the story that we have been encountering in recent weeks (or more accurately, the story that has been encountering us!).
Scouts – At your call, O God, we have gone ahead to check out the land that you are sending us to inhabit. Thank you for entrusting us with this task, and thank you for being with us throughout these many days.
Mary – And now, we return to share what we have discovered and what we believe God is calling us to do. We pray that God will give clear guidance as we share this report with our tribes and as we consider this recommendation in the next week.
Mary – Our tribes, while we indeed see the obstacles ahead of us, we also see God’s power at work and we believe that the Lord is with us. We can go and fulfill the task to which God is calling us!
Janet – Friends, just like our spiritual ancestors, Joshua and Caleb, the land we explored is a wonderful land! And if we obey the Lord, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us.
Jill – The land God is calling us to, is a rich and fruitful land, and God will give it to us! Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the obstacles. They are only helpless prey to us! The Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of anything!
Sam – Seven times — twice at the end of Moses’ leadership and five times at the beginning of Joshua’s leadership — they used the phrase, “Be strong and courageous!” Today, we believe that’s what God is saying to us: “Be strong and courageous!”
Joyce – Be strong and courageous as you seek God tonight and in the next week, asking that God’s will be done, and that God will bless you with clear discernment.
Denny – Be strong and courageous as you consider new ways of worshiping God and being engaged in ministry in our community. Be strong and courageous as you take the next faithful step!
Bonnie – Be strong and courageous as you draw closer to God, being more dependent on him than ever before. Be strong and courageous as you follow with reckless abandon wherever Jesus leads!
Scouts – Sisters and brothers — members of our tribes — we respectfully and humbly submit for your thoughtful and prayerful consideration what we believe God is calling us to be and do. We believe that God is calling us to be a community of authentic Christ-followers to transform this community by making disciples of Jesus Christ!
All – O God, as we sang last Sunday, “Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts. Let us not lift our souls to another … O God, let us be a generation that seeks — seeks your face, O God of Jacob!”
Gordie – And as another song says, “If you ask me to leap out of my boat on the crashing waves. If you ask me to go preach to a lost world that Jesus saves, I’ll go but I cannot go alone ’cause I know I’m nothing on my own. But the power of Christ in me makes me strong!”
Scouts – O God, we are aware of how helpless and powerless we are. But it is only in this state of helplessness and powerlessness that we sense the need to humble ourselves before you. God, in this sacred and scary moment, we yield ourselves fully for your use. Use us in ways that honor and please you most!
All – “Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.”
May God’s will be done, and may we hear and respond to God’s leading!