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Greenwood Forest Baptist Church

Unanticipated Renewal

Another meeting. Book study first. All-day long. On a Saturday. Really?

While I looked forward to our Deacon’s retreat, some of these thoughts did periodically creep into my mind the days before we met. Then I paused and realized that I committed to this two-year role and all that was required to serve my church. So I shut down the noise in my head and began reading Do Something Else by Nate Phillips. The stories and challenges in this paperback immediately placed me back on the path I needed to follow. Lauren knew quite well that this reading assignment would alter our mental and spiritual approach to the purpose of our retreat.

My time reading this text was constantly interrupted by my hopes and prayers for our church. I found myself re-reading and highlighting text so frequently … as if I gleaned something else with each read through the paragraph. I was so enthused about this message that I couldn’t wait for Saturday to arrive. When it did, I was excited and engaged all day as we shared our concerns, hopes, and dreams for our community of faith. I was not alone. Around the table, we could sense each other’s caring and commitment to each other and to Greenwood Forest.

As your deacons and as those on a journey individually and for our church, we gathered, prayed and shared. The time passed too quickly. For every administrative, organizational, membership, discipleship, stewardship concern, there was a response — a calm reflection from someone around the table. Our “meeting” had become a retreat; one that reflected tenderness and spiritual opportunity. A retreat that clearly demonstrated that God has already provided what we need to continue to grow our community of faith. That community that began in 1963 is evolving just as does our faith.

Some of us sometime see our community of faith as the corner of Kildaire and Maynard Road. More and more I am realizing that this definition is comfortable … and certainly not what Jesus commanded us if we are going to claim to follow Him and His teachings. We need to see our community as ever-growing and we need to see it include every person that walks through our doors. If we can do that, then we need to reach out to those who haven’t yet seen us as Christian brothers and sisters — perhaps in ways that may cause some healthy discomfort.

For me, being comfortable on my spiritual journey means that I am not having a journey. Comfort means that I am sitting on the sideline, not being vulnerable to God. In particular, this type of comfort means that I am not engaged in the process of worship with those around me who are my “church.” We can do something else … other than what we have always done or what feels comfortable.

Here’s an easy “do something else.” Did you know that if you sit in different areas in the Sanctuary that the music sounds different? What would happen if you gave your traditional spot on the pew to someone else? If that spot has become a favorite of yours from which to soak in the worship service, ponder your move as a gift to someone else. Someone who came to worship and discovered how wonderful the experience is where you used to sit. If you could “do something else” in our community of faith that brought a fellow worshiper closer to Christ, wouldn’t you do it?

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