Posted by: minnow | February 17, 2009

Life on Empty

The fellowship I go to hosted a Father’s Love conference a couple weekends ago. I took time off work so I could attend the conference. I want to say it was powerful and life changing and lots of people were touched and our fellowship will not ever be the same but I cannot. Certainly some evidence exists that people were touched–they were falling down, laughing, crying, dancing, and praying for one another. I even experienced a little of whatever it was. But last week was back to the same the same format, the same time management, even the same topic we were on just before the conference. And, I am left thinking now what? Why did we just do that?

Last month 20 plus people went to Mexico for a short term missions trip. It cost everyone $1400 dollars. They raised the money to go between September when the trip was announced and the month or so before the trip when the money was due. They helped build and paint and haul cement. They came back and told us about a fellowship they helped that took three years to raise $850 dollars so they could start to build their facility. The rest was accomplished through donations or time and material. The group from our fellowship ended their trip with a couple days at the beach. They had fun and help do some work. But now what? Did the experience change anyone? Were lives really impacted?

Our fellowship is planning a community carnival for June. The School of Ministry organized one last year with games and prizes, food and music, a puppet show, petting zoo, and a huge inflated slide, “Jump for Joy” and Sumo jousting thing. It was fun. A bunch of people came. It was a lot of work, especially for the three SOM students. It cost several thousand dollars. But, it was good PR. I just wonder what the thinking is behind doing it again. It seems like rather expensive advertising for a fellowship that meets on the other side of town. And, while it targeted low income families last year we really do not provide additional kinds of services. Last year I wondered if the carnival was going to be the beginning of something but even with three hundred plus people we just did not have a vision for reaching into our community in any sustainable manner. As I heard this year’s event be announced I wondered–now what? Has anything actually changed? Or are we really about having flashy beginning? I am afraid I do not hold out a lot of hope for the long haul. Does that make me a cup half empty kind of person?

I do not want to be a cup half empty person. I want to think the best of people and have hope for the future. I want to be full of vision and the determination to push through and stick to it. I’ve been married for 25 years because I’m too stubborn to quit. And with the exception of a few years in high school when I went to Young Life meetings instead of a traditional fellowship (and a couple stints of taking a couple months off) I’ve been part of Building-Based Christianity for 50 years. But I have to admit. I am feeling worn out. Some backwards movement and a changed of direction under new leadership in my current fellowship has brought me as close to doubting God as I have ever come.

About a week ago we had some friends over for dinner. He recently stepped down from the leadership board at our fellowship believing the Lord was telling him to “step out (out of the inner circle) to step in (into what the Lord is calling him to do)”. Even with this explanation and the assurance that he and his family were not leaving the fellowship the leaders still asked him if he was “in sin” followed by if he had “prayed” about his decision. The man has a recognized prophetic gifting and was in charge of our prayer ministry for goodness sake–I think he prayed about it. I think he is still praying about it only this time he too is asking–what now?

I honestly do not know why I am actually writing this right now. I guess I just need to say here, in the confusing and depression, and grief, and doubt, and aloneness is where I stand. I do not believe I can keep doing what I have been doing and remain functional, sane, healthy, whatever word you want to put in that blank that means forward moving. If I had the money to go to Africa and serve as a little nobody in Heidi Baker’s ministry I would be tempted except I still have three children under my immediate, legal care and will have one of them for fifteen more years. I do not want to live life on empty.

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Responses

  1. Hey Minnow,
    I’ve been too busy and unhappy about things to focus on writing a good blog entry. So I stayed away for about two weeks.

    Now, about your observations…You are on a different path than your fellowship. I am too, at times. For instance, I was very upset that not one of the ministers spoke out against such things as homosexuality and abortion during a political year. Where did this lead? We now have a ton of bodies in the church, calling themselves Christians and now, openly announcing a humanistic “Christian” perspective, if you will.
    A bunch of antithetical, rhetoric.

    Minnow, when you shared that part about the man stepping down from his position and having been questioned by people as to wether he was in sin and did he pray about it; Those were words of a congregation whom do not live in a real world. That opinion was, of course measured after weighing it against prior info on how ineffective the Church is at reaching the community.

    The church needs to do things like they are doing. But, theire needs to be heart. They need not impose a culture with their ideas or they will not make a good witness and hence, down the tubes with all of the money and resources. That sounds as if what happened, being that the church is oppinionated when someone makes a decission based on what the rest of the congregation did not receive the memo on.

    My wife and I left a congregation where we love the pastor and his wife. However, the staff was damaging the ministry of Christ.

    Are you able to leave comments on my blog? I don’t recall getting any from you. I know you have read it because you adequately mentioned some feelings.
    Jim

  2. praying for you Minnow.

    I too was feeling a TEENY bit of those things – nothing compared to all you’ve seen and I can truly say I feel so much more FREE in this new community we’re a part of.

    For the record — If I could go back in time and tell Randi (myself) 6 months ago or 1 year ago what God was up to now in my life — I would say — Randi! Chill out! God has a plan. Right now you’re in preparation time! He is going to lead you to a new place. He will help you find a place that you mesh with and where you belong and can use all these experiences & gifts He is stowing in you. Continue to take what you can from the now – there will be a new page!

    so for what that is worth? maybe nothing…. my point is – I was getting all flustered, feeling chained, frustrated — but if I had only known what was ahead – I didn’t have to be those things. yet I’m sure I’ll do it again…..

    my point is Minnow! I have no doubt GOd has plans for you. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was leaving that fellowship and being involved in a new ministry — I can even see you being “director of Missions” — a way to find out about the needs in the community and be the reach out for the church to get out into the community – and global too. In fact I’m meeting with my pastor tonight to request for our community to go ahead and find a director of missions and to get out there though we have so few resources right – let’s do what we can with how little we have right now. Let’s start making connections in the community and find out what needs God can meet through us..

    anyway!!!!! 🙂 My point is I hear you! prayin for ya. love ya


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