Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall? Have you ever wished you could see an interaction, listen in on a conversation, or wanted to be somewhere you would never have been invited? We all have! I know I wish I could hear my teenage daughter’s interaction with her friends, so that I could be a better mom, to know how she really thinks and even what makes her “tick”. In the past I have hoped to hear how a decision was made for my community or my church (when I was laity). I’ve wanted to see how people navigate through a particularly sticky issue in their relationship – and come out on the other side smiling! I don’t know why, but it seems to be human nature to want to know the particulars. Maybe we think we will get a laugh of the reactions of our friends and family (to see their faces). Maybe we are as curious as kitty cats who get themselves stuck in a jam. Maybe we want to know we are not alone in our own feelings. Maybe we think we will learn something.
As a District Superintendent, I am in a season of what I might characterize as “fly on the wall” sessions! I have the honor of attending introductory visits of newly appointed pastors who are meeting their new S/PPR Committee members for the first time. The pastors and their families are seeing the parsonage, the church building and meeting new folks. It is incredibly exciting! And I’m there to facilitate: I make initial introductions, I walk with them through the buildings while a church member narrates history and function, and then I help them navigate the narration of who they are, church members and pastors, and how they came to be in the room for this visit.
As I make these introductions, one of the most heard phrases from both pastors and a laity is offering a glimpse at a ‘God moment’ they experienced. It might be what called the pastor into ministry, what led a person to attend this church, or what nudged them to believe God was really moving in their lives. Often when these stories are told, I, as the fly on the wall, get chill bumps on my skin and the hair on the back of my neck stands! The stories of how God is working in the lives of individuals, and, thereby, how God is working in the lives of these churches where the individuals gather, is nothing short of a miracle. I am amazed! And, yet . . .
I still want to be a fly on the wall. The stories told in these churches by both pastor and laity is just PART of the story! Right? It’s what happens next that I want to know more about. I think about this two ways: when we have a God moment, it is never the end of the story. Most people in these meetings end their story with “and I ended up coming here to church for the past 5/10/27 years!” Or they end their story with “and that’s how I came to serve on the SPPRC.” This is SO NOT the end of their story. God brought them with a purpose: to serve, to love, to be part of a group who makes disciples for Christ. It is just the beginning – and I want to know more!
The other way I think about God moments is this: we need to ask the question of ourselves – what did God want me to find? Why did God nudge me right here, right now? Our God is a God of intention, a God of purpose. God loves us all the time. When God nudges us and gifts us with a God-filled moment, our response is not only to recognize it, but to ask ourselves: what do I do with this nudge? What is God showing, giving, revealing to me? This nudge is the beginning of a story, or a continuation, but not the ending. When God brings you to a church, when God guides you into leadership, when you find yourself in a place you’ve never been before and wouldn’t be there but by the grace of God, there is more to the story.
I challenge you today to go back to your last God nudge and explore it some more. Read Acts 8:26-40. The eunuch was changed by this encounter. What small things have led to great change in your life? What twists and turns have brought you grace and hope and right where you are today? Recognizing where you have been and how you arrived at where you are often leads to clues to where God is leading you. And. . . the continuation of your story. Are you looking for it, expectantly waiting? Or do you think these nudges are simply nilly willy?!?
I am learning that our God is a bold and wonderful God – much more than a fly on the wall. God may watch and wait and God nudges and guides. I am learning to expect the next nudge and the next. And while it is fun to be a fly on the wall for the moment, there is also a time to be nudged, to say yes, to go where we are called. There is always more to the story: one God moment leads to another! God intends good for God’s people and is working in and through us always! I am grateful for you who lead, who listen to the One nudging, and all who are searching for the next nudge and guidepost in life.
Thanks to all the moving pastors who are coming into Harbor and allowing me to walk with them in ministry. I’m grateful to those who are preparing to leave this district for their dedication, obedience and witness. I give thanks for laity who are leaders of all kinds, year after year, welcome in spiritual leaders and offering sacrificial service. And I’m grateful I get to be a fly on the wall and lead with you.
God’s hand is upon us, congregations and pastors) both in transition and in remaining to serve right where we are. May you experience a nudge where you are and wherever you go, knowing this is the start of a new leg of the journey and God is alongside you all the way. May you find yourself overhearing the divine like a fly on the wall – and then meet God wherever the nudge leads you!
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