29 June 2004
I write from the midst of “a lull.” As if the wind that was rocketing us along, has died down.
· Earlier this year, we had some teenagers baptized in KM’s pool. A good family and friends day, and also a challenge to tie the teaching into community development, but we looked at the “creative power of commitment,” and it went well.
· We were offered bread for 2-3 bread runs, per week, and were able to link it to some people in BG who love to do it!
· Our Easter Sunday special was a beauty, and attended by about a dozen extra irregulars, who clucked enthusiastically about it.
· We’ve had a few more people added to the email network (now about 26 locals who want to be kept in touch with what’s happening.)
However, with the regular meetings, things have slowed.
· We lost 2 core families. One to Donnybrook, and one to Merriwa. This leaves our family plus another core couple.
· As a consequence, one of the peer meetings has stopped. Mine recently slowed due to work commitments (but the good side is that the other guy has chased it up.)
· The Celebration meeting has down-scaled to monthly, and meets in our home now. We still feel even more the need for someone with expertise and heart to grab hold of this all-age community meeting. (We have someone in mind.)
· We had a week-before-Mother’s Day special and almost no-one came.
Of course it’s a concern. All the questions arise: What’s gone wrong? What should we do? What have we missed? etc.
But in other ways we’re OK about the lull:
· we knew the novelty would wear off eventually, so were expecting a lull – sooner than this actually.
· we figure some neighbors have been wanting to see whether we’ll stick around and be part of the furniture. Are we fair dinkum, or flash in the pan? The only way to resolve this is with time.
· We continue to become more familiar with more people.
· The loss of core people opens more time for us to see who else is out there to develop. And we have identified some. It’s made us a little more intentional about following these up.
· Christ conversations are continuing, and paradigms take time to shift. Both are percolating away all the merrier.
More than that, in other ways we’ve been positively encouraged by things we’ve learnt here in the lull.
· As Doug Murren once said, “We can’t make a movement of God happen. I just want to still be here when God makes His move!” That’s our aim, too.
· We realize that we still know what to do. “Even if” the work dwindles down to just Sally & me, we’d still know what to do. We’d still attend to what God’s doing around about, still encourage & Cheer, still pray, still act to assist, still learn & grow, still engage, serve, explain and flesh out our faith.
· This is a far cry from the kind of co-dependency that can arise in some church situations, where the people don’t know what to do and go into maintenance mode. We feel kind of mature in that sense. Not smug, but calm.
· Besides, we’ve got nothing to maintain. A lull is not terminal for our way of doing things. Because for us, a lull does not impact on budget, buildings, or staff salaries – we’re kind of indestructible in those ways. It’s just a lull – it can’t hurt us. We don’t have to be driven by fear of losing anything. It allows us to be driven more by love.
· We continue to follow the relationships, rather than make programs. And that’s good.
The Mothers’ Day thing re-taught us that important lesson. We had an inspired idea: to make a Men Only Tool-kit for Mothers’ Day. We made up pamper-packs of bath-soaps & chockies etc for the men to give their wives, and poetry celebrating mums, along with a half-page summary of Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages, and instructions on how to identify their wife’s love language, and prepare and give something in that language for Mothers’ Day. Great idea!
But too late we realized our mistake: we had advertised like it was a program, and overlooked our relationship links. We had signs on the deli, at the Community Hall, etc. saying come to the Hall for your secret Men Only Ma’s day toolkit. But none of us had given the packs to our friends! Der – no-brainer!!! On the day, after the failure, I went out and gave packs to as few mums I bumped into (to great appreciation I might add.)
We may be slow learners, but I hope we do learn…
This week we are about to host the Watoto Children’s Choir from an orphanage in Uganda. We followed the relationship links, and not only found 8 billet homes, but also spread the word and it sounds like there will be a full house at the “Concert Of Hope” at the community hall. Reinforcing the lesson – friendships link better than programs.
Stay tuned for that report.