Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6.9
I was speaking with a long time church member a couple weeks ago and they shared with me a time when they became weary in their work for the church. It is understandable. To often the church is a place of obligation and expectation rather than a place to joyfully express the gifts and skills God has provided. At the last Presbytery meeting in Ely, May 3rd, the keynote speaker was Rev. Kara Root. Kara is the pastor of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, MN. She shared on the topic of Church Revitalization. She actually prefers to title her seminar Church Death and Resurrection but she waits until the beginning to do that as she has a tougher time getting invited to speak with that title.
The piece of her presentation I found particularly striking was when she was sharing about an additional vow she has started asking Elders at their ordination or instillation. She asks, “Will you serve out of joy, and only as long as it gives you joy?” Asking this question has caused one of the biggest transformations in their congregation. It hasn’t always been a smooth transition however. Rev. Root shared how they had just decided to cancel their Vacation Bible School six weeks prior to having it because no leadership could do it joyfully.
I have served in other congregations who also functioned out of this paradigm and it is remarkable to see what happens when folks are passionate about the things they do. The joy of their activity radiates through every bit of their service. It has been fun watching my wife experience the same in her leadership with Sunday School. If you get a chance to walk through the playroom and look at all the kids have learned about God you too will see what I mean. She does not even approach becoming weary when she thinks about preparing the kids lessons.
A wise mentor of mine once said that we can all become physically exhausted in our calls. The true danger comes from a spiritual weariness. That is something which must be immediately addressed through prayer and assistance from our faith community. There is a great deal stacked against the church these days. It is easy to become weary and simply give in to doing things “good enough”. Unfortunately, the work that the church does has eternal significance and “good enough” can’t get us to the vision God has for us.
Simultaneously, as Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church has realized, if we only do things from a place of joy, there will be times when beloved programs or traditions don’t happen. They had to be open to the reality that perhaps the Spirit had moved on to some other ministry focus and so the joy around such and such program had ceased. So, we can become physically exhausted from our work but never spiritually weary. If we can keep the joy in doing good, we will reap the harvest Christ has for us. May it be so!
Respectfully Submitted in Christ’s Service,
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