By Rebecca Hasey, Vision Pathway Team member
That was me. When I learned that we were bringing in an outside consultant to assist us in figuring out the Vision of St. Luke, I was skeptical. In truth, skeptical might be a generous term. Cynical is more like it.
So imagine my surprise when Pastor Justin approached me about serving on the Vision Pathway Team. I shared my uncertainty with him; he heard me out and reiterated his question. His response to my skepticism was acceptance: acceptance of me; acceptance of my struggle. He merely asked that I would bring an openness to the process.
Right then and there I knew he wasn’t seeking a deferential deluge of yes-men; that my input would be valued. This wasn’t going to be a process where I would be expected to just nod my head and smile. But a process it was!
This process began back in the fall. Some of our time together as a team has brought excitement. Other times, it has been very draining. I have literally felt so overwhelmed with emotion that I had to step out of the room and spend time on my knees in prayer, asking God to confirm my place on this team and speak to my heart. I have looked around the room and thought “Yes, Yes, Yes, just what he said!” and then a minute later, “No, No, No, what is he thinking?”
Through it all, I’ve seen the value in the process set before us, the value in the struggle. Yes, this process is taking time. Yes, it is costing money. Yes, it is worth it.
You’ve been patient. You’ve given a gift to the leaders of your church: Time. Time to let God stir within this group His revelation. His plan. His Vision.
In this waiting, I am reminded of the prophet, Habakkuk. The Lord revealed his plans for Israel to him. These plans included the devastating news that his beloved people would indeed become captives; that God was sending the enemies of His people to rule over them.
Habakkuk was understandably distressed! He knew what was to happen and yet the Lord instructed him to wait.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end – it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay. -Habakkuk 2:3
God asked him to wait. Even for something bad, something he surely did not want. God asks us to wait. But we wait for something good, something we surely DO want.
This vision process is not quick. In fact, it often seems slow, sometimes dreadfully so. All of us on the vision pathway team have felt it. We’ve heard it. We’ve heard it from each other, in the midst of trying to articulate the essence of our values. We’ve heard it from our Auxano Navigator, who reminded us to trust the process. We’ve heard it from you, members of St. Luke, who are so eager to be looking ahead on a common path in our journey.
But I know without a doubt that God has good things for us. We are not to be taken into captivity. We are a free people seeking to serve our God in the best way we know. While we still have refining to do on the Vision Proper, we have gained a much clearer picture of who we are as a congregation. That, in turn, points me to a few things I know we are not.
We are not floundering. We are not grasping. We are not flailing our arms in deep water, hoping and praying someone will come to our rescue. God is with us. He always has been. Even in the difficulties of the past. Even in the loneliness of wandering. Even when we yearned for a shepherd to come to our flock and lead us. Not only did God send us shepherds, he sent shepherds who look at the paths ahead of them, not just where their feet are planted.
I love this church! And while I’ve always known our leaders do too, I now see how much. As we’ve sat side-by-side, struggling with finding the right words to convey the essence of what we’re feeling, I’ve seen it: their dedication, their strivings, their longing for God’s clarity. I’ve heard their prayers for wisdom, for guidance, for the people of this church. In one way, that’s all the Vision I need.
We are not directionless. We may not have arrived at our True North quite yet, but we’re at least at NNW. Yes, there is ambiguity in this process, but along with that comes lucidity. We spent a long time articulating our values. But not for the reason you might think; not because we didn’t know what they were, but because they were so distinctive to who we are, it was challenging to express.
We are not confined–not to our building, not to our understanding, not to our abilities. God is moving hearts in this place. He is gently leading us outside our comfort zones, to where his people reside. He is making me want to follow.
5 years ago, I would have been pretty content to sit in my pew, interact with the people around me, live life with my small group, and keep St. Luke simply my church home. But not anymore.
Our pastors were sent to us for a purpose. Many of us thought it was to bring that contentment back. I’m thinking it was to challenge it.
What a revelation to me! My heart aches for people to walk into our church and experience an authentic connection with someone, to know that they are valued. It is imperative we nurture an environment that fosters that authentic connection, and there is more.
This place we call our church home, a plot of land tucked in the corner of US-23 and I-94, isn’t here merely by chance. We are positioned in such a way that our reach extends all over the place. We come here to be filled, for certain, but also to pour out to those God has placed us in community with.
So, has this vision process been a worthwhile endeavor? Absolutely! It would be impossible for me to overlook the personal impact that serving on this team has made within me as an individual. It has not only reaffirmed my appreciation of our leaders, but created a growing anticipation for the future of our church.
We are unique. We are here for a purpose. We are a people seeking His Vision. And He will continue to lead us forward… one step at a time.
Please be sure to join us at our Wet Cement Session after 10:15 a.m. worship on Sunday, May 21st. Your willingness to engage in this process is vital to our endeavor!