First Christian Church | Pittsfield

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10.10.18 | Michael's Corner | by Michael Ten Eyck

    I am looking forward to “sweater weather.”  It has been somewhat frustrating to me to have had a brief cooling spell followed by several over 80 degree days.  Although it has been a fine summer, I am ready for the fall to arrive.


    I want to get my sweaters out of storage and put away my summer wardrobe.  I am ready to enjoy more campfires outside. I can’t wait to not have to run the air conditioner at the church!


    It is difficult when change should be happening, but it is not.  This is true for many areas in our lives, but certainly spiritually as well. While it is common to experience seasons of getting spiritually stuck from time to time, there are some things we can do to help assist us in moving on to the next needed season.


    The first is to consider the reasons for our lack of progress.  Some questions to consider are:

    • Am I remaining faithful in my spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible reading?
    • Am I avoiding dealing with a specific issue God has laid on my heart to be addressed, such as forgiving someone, releasing a grudge, dealing with a harmful habit, following through with something the Holy Spirit has prompted me to do?


    Along with these introspective questions is to access our willingness to actually change spiritually.  Sadly, I have met some folks who actually are not willing to grow spiritually. This goes for individuals as well as churches.


    I have met with churches who stated that they wanted to grow, but who had no interest at all in embracing the changes needed to facilitate growth.  For example, a church leader I had spoken with was lamenting the lack of numerical growth in their church. I asked if they had ever invited someone new to church.  They were shocked at the question… “Why would I do that? That is the pastor’s job.”


    I recall a difficult conversation with a church leader who was frustrated at a perceived lack of growth at their church, but in the same conversation complained about decisions that were made for growth that meant change for them, such as giving up their seat, moving their meeting area, or even tolerating loud babies and children in service (gasp!).


    The bottom line is that while change is tough and change is challenging, change is also needed.  The key that I have found to help me in times of change is to keep my eyes on Jesus much more than my personal preferences.  That sounds easy, but trust me, it is tough. The great thing is that the times I have been able to do it have been times of fantastic personal growth.  


    While change for the sake of change can be a waste of time, change for growth is tremendously rewarding.  Are you changing?


    Loving you all,  

    Michael    

     

    P.S. I have been surprised this past week with a barrage of cards and anonymous gifts. These acts of kindness ranged from walking into my office to find the entire ceiling covered with festive balloons, to my car getting a friendly graffiti workover.  The Children’s Church made some thoughtful and beautiful handmade cards of appreciation.


    For all of these, I wish to say thank you!  I am blessed to serve a wonderful church family alongside a wonderful staff.