10 May 2006

Praying for purpose

Last night, I talked to Carl before our church board meeting about the possibility of Sunday School in the fall. Carl is a brilliant guy. Really. And he's one of the most thoughtful, devoted and faithful Christians I've ever met. I'm really blessed that he's in this church.
So I talked to Carl about my feeling that God has been asking me to teach Sunday School asked him to join me in praying for direction.
He said he would and then asked if there was something more we can do.
So we spent the next 15 minutes brainstorming all sorts of things.
And when we got to the board meeting and Carl mentioned the desire to do a Sunday School, I asked everyone to pray for direction. And I could tell that they thought, "well, duh, yeah. Now what else can we do."
Do, do, do...
I understand the inclination. I really do. Praying about something can seem so passive, especially if the something about which we are praying is something as involved and technical as starting an education ministry from the ashes of a 100 year program. We want to "do" something, start acting with purpose, make some small movement that will set in motion whatever will eventually happen.
But, for some reason, I think that the ONLY thing that we can do right now is pray for direction.
Maybe that's because none of us in that church have the slightest clue about how to do an educational ministry that is not for ourselves, but for Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. Maybe it's because all of us have a hundred ideas and we aren't really sure which one is God's.
I don't know.
I have a feeling -- a deep feeling that I am suspecting is not actually created by me at all, but is actually of the Spirit's genesis -- that our ministry here at this church will become one of mentoring and modeling. We live in a community that has the second highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the state of Illinois. We have the highest rate of acts of sexual aggression in the state. Here! It's crazy to think of.
We have generations and generations of people in this community who have not grown up with two parents or even two grandparents. We have mothers who don't know their fathers. And fathers who have never learned what it means to commit to a family.
In short, this place DESPERATELY needs Christians who are willing to step up and show these people how to do it. They don't need folks to castigate them. They don't need any more handouts. They need someone to say, "If you want to learn how to be a faithful Christian family, we'll show you how. If you want to learn how to be a faithful Christian mother and raise faithful Christian children, here's the place you come. If you want to learn how to be a faithful Christian father and provide for a faithful Christian family, come on."
Of course, this implies that we need to be faithful folks modeling this in the first place which is SO intimidating for so many of us! Why, OH WHY, do we expect that relationship with Jesus is supposed to be easy? This is the guy who was crucified. His disciples were martyred. He told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. If something's so easy that we don't need to make any effort or sacrifices, it's not worth doing, right?
Anyway, now I'm ranting/rambling.
So. I have my friend Carl praying for us. And I'm praying for direction, for purpose, and for a mission and most of all, for our willingness to receive these things.
Those aren't TOO big, are they?
For nothing is impossible with God! -Lk. 1:37

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