Surprise Visit

Late yesterday afternoon, just as I was getting ready to leave work, I had a visitor. One that made me nervous on sight - the head elder of the first church I left. What could she possibly want? When folk say things like "do you have time to talk?" I start to worry... :)

Well, it seems she's on a mission to talk to folk who have walked away, to find out why and to ask for their input on what can be different. She feels the church is dead (spot-on!) and treading water, and wants to find a solution.

Yay for her! And surprised was I!

She's an old spinster lady, who for years ruled the local primary school with an iron hand, and seems to have done the same at church - or that's the impression we got. But impressions are often wrong. And my perceptions had to be reframed.

We had a long chat.

I was honest about where I'm at (trying to Be instead of Do church, looking for where God's at outside of church walls and trying to find a way to join in what He's already doing, relearning personal spirituality as opposed to drifting in a crowd etc.). I was surprised when she agreed with what I'm doing and blessed me for it.

She asked what difficulties I'd found when I led worship and kid's church (at the same time, major burn-out!). I mentioned the stubbornness and unwillingness to change or even consider change. The fact that the congregation would prefer to read the bulletins than participate. I told her a few things I'd learnt from that, and later from the next church I attended/served at. I mentioned stuff I've picked up from reading profusely (online, blogs, books etc.) in the past 3 years.

This weekend she's venturing off to the last church I attended (and left indefinitely). It's VERY different from any church she may have attended up to now - but what do I know, perhaps I'm wrong. Which is why we're thinking of joining her, so there's at least one familiar face and someone to introduce her around.

I'd like to hear what she thinks after she's been. Sure they've got a band (her church has an unamplified piano). They're loud and enthusiastic (instead of reverent silence and minimal singing thanks to aforementioned unamplified piano). They come as they are (instead of dressing up to the nines). I hope she goes with an open mind and that she's made to feel welcome.

Me, well I'm still in a state of surprise.