Church as been really good lately. I’ve changed. Sometimes that causes stress at the church level. In my case, this has actually been refreshing to a lot of people. I’m sure that some have struggled, but just as many or more have responded positively. The best part is that I’m not in control. I overheard a criticism of me the other day, and once I got past being defensive, I had to agree. On the other hand, I got this e-mail, which essentially agrees with the criticism but takes a different view:
Richview always benefits when you are authentic, direct and honest. As much as we would like to believe you are all-wise, all-knowing, and spiritually perfect, you know you’re not. We know it too. It’s better if we don’t pretend you have it all together. Your struggles HELP us to admit we have struggles of our own, and when God answers your prayers and helps with your struggles — and you tell us about it — that gives us hope. Keep it up!
I probably know less about how to grow a successful church now than I ever have, but I also know a little bit more about how a church should feel, and what our culture should be like. McManus calls this the shaping of the ethos of a church. Today I had someone in my office, and I was amazed again at the number of good things that are happening that don’t even remotely involve me. A few years ago, that would have threatened me. Now it’s just another reason to celebrate. Richview’s not a perfect church, but that’s what makes it so good. I’m enjoying being imperfect, growing, and yet (mostly) accepted just as I am, together with others who are in the same boat. It’s an exciting feeling, and a lot better than other models of church I’ve tried.