I had a long conversation last night with a friend. She's writing a piece about her experience on this journey with me. And we began talking about the congregation I serve. I am struggling with them because I believe they are stuck, are happy being a "family" or a "club" and have little interest in following Christ. This, I believe, is the reason they have not had a new member in oh, lets say 10 years. The pastor who preceded me worked long and hard to "transform" them (transform being what I think is the latest Presby-speak for trying to revitalize a congregation). She left/was fired after a tenure of 7 years there. They didn't have an interim for two years and then I was called as a designated. When I came, I wanted to do some visioning. I was told not to use the v word. There was lots I was told not to do because my predecessor had dome them and the congregation wasn't happy. And so, I did what I thought needed to be done and used different words. Which was probably a mistake.
The bottom line is I don't know how to tell them the truth. The truth hurts and I don't want to hurt them. But, I am frustrated. So, my sermon tomorrow will attempt to tell the truth (unless the spirit gives me something else to say in the middle of the night). I do need to cool my anger. My predecessor used to lose her temper in session meetings. I wonder why???? Everything she focused on as an issue that needed to be addressed are the things I focused on. She was absolutely right in her instincts.
I don't understand my reluctance around the truth. So, pray for me today and tomorrow as I craft a sermon about the church as the ground for the word.