Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Cambridge God Adventure* 52) Wonder and hesitation

(*please skip if you have not been following this story). Brian commented online after the last posting this was rather like a soap opera making us wait with baited breath for the next episode. Looking back I realize afresh just what drama was occurring!  The Treasurer's poker face revealed nothing! I looked down at the slip of paper he gave me and when  the congregation finished the hymn I announced with a tremble of wonder and joy in my voice that the gifts and promises amounted to £167,964.

Apparently, I said with emotion:
It is possible to be amazed at this figure because it contrasts with what you might expect.  It is possible to be amazed at people - how much I have grown in love with you as pastor.  But we are amazed at our Lord because he has given us the ability to give, to see and to step out in faith. 
We sang the doxology with full hearts.  I learned later that about 150 people had participated in this experience of the Easter Lord at work.  There was no one large gift (as some suspected!) but many smaller though sacrificial gifts making up the whole.

Wonderful though this was it was only just over half-way towards the target. Now, some felt the future was less clear than ever.  Indeed, several people wrote to me with their major hesitations about going any further with a big scheme, especially since we knew the costs would rise above the architect's estimate.  Throughout my ministry I have kept a file of letters which are critical (and often therefore very difficult to read). I have kept it not for masochistic reasons but for humbling because I know how easily I can get things wrong!  Christian leadership requires sensitive listening because among  downright negative (and sometimes unkind) comments there are often corrective words that must be heeded.

A few of my leaders fell into the latter category.  One wrote about his concern that this figure, wonderful though it was, fell so far short it did not give us clear guidance to go ahead with the architect.  We agreed that the only way forward was to pray hard with honest discussion and see if corporate conviction emerged at our next church meeting on May 15th.  As someone said: 'Is God telling us to go for it?'  Good question.

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