Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Our Practice

Twins 15-15 Braves 20-11
Comments from yesterday: Lil mentioned that the Star Tribune had information that last night's episode of The Practice was to be the series finale. I watched the last half of it. Seemed final to me. Good. She mentioned a show she likes called Everwood. I'd never heard of it. She describes it like this: Everwood is about a very successful neurosurgeon from NY who leaves the big apple after his wife dies and moves to Everwood, CO to see if he can put his life back together. Son is a talented pianist---quit playing after his mother dies, but is finally getting back into it. While in NY. his dad was too busy saving other people's lives to get to his recitals etc. He opens up a clinic in Everwood and doesn't charge. There is another Dr. in town who has a daughter that Ephraim, the pianist son is interested in and she is interested in Ephraim also, but she feels responsible to support her boyfriend who was in an accident and was saved by the neurosurgeon. Have to watch it to get into it. It's on the same channel as 7th Heaven.
Yesterday I had a brief conversation with a fellow church member who expressed concern that the church might not be big enough or have enough programs to hold onto our family, or to attract new families. Our church has about 90-100 regular attenders. We came from a big inner city church in Minneapolis.
The comment took me by surprise. It has never occurred to me that our church seems too small. It's home to us. We joined and pledged to support it with our prayers, our presence, our gifts and our service. Kind of reminds me of the wedding vows we took 20+ years ago. We made neither pledge lightly.
We joined our local church because it seemed like a place where we could learn and teach. We could support and be supported. Just as we stick together in sickness and health, we'll stick with our church during times of stress and growth.
Our little church is right on the crossroads of change. We have a huge development going up right down the road and lots of longtime residents who feel disenfranchised and shut out by the new changes. We will have many hard decisions to make in the future as we strive to be available to our newly-diverse community while still maintaining our identity as a people of Christ.
Church change is not really new to us. We helped to plant a brand new church in Eagan, MN in the early 80s. In the 90s we changed to a church in our neighborhood in Minneapolis. We only made that change because we had a new baby and wanted him to grow up in a church in the neighborhood. Our new church then was right on the brink of change. Much the same type of change as we have going on here. In Minneapolis, Minnehaha was getting older and not getting many new, young families. Mensa Boy and I were there just as we started making changes to programs and the building to accomodate young couples and kids. And programs were added later to reach out to the poverty-stricken in our community. Today Minnehaha is a growing, diverse church with an emphasis on inner-city outreach.
Are MB and I movers and shakers? By no means! Did we even have much to do with the changes in last church? No. We were busy with 2 young children. We didn't even like some of the changes. In some cases we were wrong about the viability of some of the ideas for change.
But we stayed. That was our family. We learned with them and grew with them. We found little spots where we could make a difference and where we could grow. It's not about the service times. It's not about the building. It's about the people and sincerity and desire to serve God.
We'll do the same at our little church down the road. We're here to stay. They are our family.

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