While my role as interim pastor at First Baptist Church, Guelph (FBCG) officially started on May 1st, this Sunday was the first Sunday where I felt like I was really stepping into the position. Last week we were blessed with a wonderful guest speaker for our 165th anniversary service and while the service was a little longer than anticipated (like, a half hour longer than planned, whoops!) everything went really smoothly. So obviously, this Sunday, the first Sunday when I feel like I need to be in charge, is the one where it all seems to fall apart. Of course, this is the first Sunday in my time here at FBCG that we had no presentation software, no sound board, and no main speakers for the entire service.
Now, I could look at this like the enemy was at work and attacking our church to try to prevent the word of God from reaching people. And who knows? Maybe there was some of that. But, regardless of why it happened, I think it’s going to be most helpful for us to look back and ask the question, what can we learn from this experience?
After spending some time reflecting on the events of Sunday, I think God has been giving me a few things to make sure I remember as I enter into this summer at the Interim Pastor at FBCG and I want to share some of that with you here:
1. I am not in control
God is in control. I already knew this but it is always good to have a reminder of it (especially when stepping into a position of authority!) While I am responsible for planning and organizing our services here at FBCG, I am really responsible for submitting to God all the way through this leadership process. I think that this Sunday will do a lot to remind me of the fact that God is holding the reigns and directing this church, and I find a lot of comfort in that knowledge.
2. I have an awesome church family here to support me
I am confident that this Sunday, there were people who could not hear properly. I’m sure that for some of the people in the front, the speakers we turned around to face out may have been too loud. Instead of receiving complaints and frustration, I received encouragement and support. Even the feedback that was critical (I know, I know, I need to slow down when I speak) was brought forward in a way that was loving and gentle. This weekend’s events were a great encouragement that we are in this together, learning and growing as individuals and as a community. And when I encounter a time when I’m not sure what to do, I know that I have lots of people ready and willing to serve in whatever way they can.
3. There is more to church than a Sunday service
It is really easy to start thinking of church as 5 songs and a sermon (or whatever your liturgy may be). But this Sunday was an awesome reminder that church does not need presentation software or a sound system. Church doesn’t need music at all! It doesn’t even need a sermon!! Those are all good things and can be really positive for us in our faith but, what makes what happens on Sunday “church” is that we all gather together in the name of Jesus to worship and grow closer to God.
So, was it a rocky start this Sunday? Sure, I’m okay with saying that it was a little bit rocky. But I’m hoping that our “rocky” start can direct us to Christ as our solid-rock foundation for this summer. I hope that it will help us to remember that God is in control and that church isn’t about fancy sound or presentations, but a gathering of broken people in an imperfect world, recognizing our need for a saviour, striving to be more like Jesus, and sharing His love with everyone we encounter.
If we can do that, I’m happy to say that it was rocky, but it was also good.