Discerning Church Learning to discern the movement of God's Spirit

More Changing

I sometimes get tired of change. It seems like everything is moving so fast. I find myself longing for days of stability. My family and I sometimes watch old TV episodes like Leave It To Beaver or The Andy Griffith Show. While I was not around in the 1950s, it seems like the world was a more steady place. As a congregation, we have found that God has called us to adjust in fairly significant ways. In the past two years, we have changed our worship schedule and hired staff. I told our church moderator a few months ago that the difficult decisions should be behind us. I hoped that we would be able to relax a bit and enjoy an unfluctuating environment for a bit. It doesn’t look like this will be the case.

We live in an ever changing world; we are constantly adapting. In the past several years, we have watched our church giving gradually decrease. Last year, we had a fairly significant deficit at year’s end. We spent the first two months of this year focusing on stewardship; we hoped this trend would reverse. It doesn’t look like this is going to happen. Therefore, we are faced with a significant challenge. Over the next several months, our leadership team will need to develop a balanced budget. Significant cuts will be a reality. Once again, we will be challenged with continual change.

As has been our practice over the past few years, we will be using a discernment process in this endeavor. Budgetary cuts can be difficult; we can not lean into our personal preferences. We must devote ourselves to seeking the Spirit’s direction as we move forward. Only He has the necessary wisdom to lead us in the right directions. Perhaps God is calling us to reconsider our use of resources. We may find that cuts do not mean less ministry; they may be a vehicle to empower everyone to be involved in ministry. We no longer have the luxury of plentiful staffing; we will have to find creative and less resource-intense ways of functioning. My prayer is that this challenge will increase our dependence on the Holy Spirit’s leading. My hope is that we will shift in ways that will build up our congregation. I pray that we will be empowered to walk with God in all that He is doing in our community.

I know that we are not the only congregation facing such challenges. I hope that we will learn new ways of navigating these waters. Once again, I look to this discernment process as a tool. While the process will not provide detailed solutions for reaching a balanced budget, it will provide an outline for seeking the Spirit’s direction. No doubt, we have had ample opportunity to use this process. It looks like it’s not going to slow down anytime soon.