Friday, August 19, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here, God?

Our pulpit minister passed away yesterday, the entire congregation is in mourning and saddened by the loss. I’m not sure exactly, but he’s been preaching here for about 20 years. We are going to miss him for a long time to come. His funeral is Sunday and then we’ll be faced with searching for a new man. It will probably be a while before we find someone as good. The flock still remembers the loss of another great minister due to a tragic car accident on Christmas Eve many, many years ago. You never really fully recover from something like this, you just have to go on the best you can without them.

Our congregation is facing some major changes in other ways as well. We were a small church in a rural farming community for many years. Due to some dynamic leadership by elders, deacons and ministers, we have grown to be a relatively large and active congregation with many young families who have lots of children. Several things have limited our continued growth in recent years. Being in an out of the way area has been a big factor for a long time. While all roads may lead to Rome, very few roads lead to Mule Town. That’s about to change. Fifty years in the planning stages, a major regional highway is finally being built on our doorstep. One of the few exits is literally in front of our building. The chance that we might become a “mega-church” is a real possibility with the right planning, leadership and God’s blessing. There are many things to consider, one of which is do we really want to be a mega-church?  We currently average around 250 to 300 members, depending on how you count. Even at that size it’s almost impossible to know everyone. As a former deacon, I was sometimes embarrassed when I didn’t know the name of people that had been there for several years. I can’t imagine the confusion of leading a church with hundreds more. Whatever direction we go from here will depend on many factors, but one of the major ones will be who we select to preach from the pulpit. He’s got some gigantic shoes to fill.

I had my regular 3 month office visit with my primary care doctor yesterday and it went very well. My A1C is down to 6.0 and he surprised me by saying that it’s too good. I get to reduce my insulin dosage for the first time in several years. My other vitals looked good as well, I’ve lost weight since my last visit, blood pressure is near normal, I’m doing without supplemental oxygen most of the time and able to get around without a wheelchair for short distances.  I'm also scheduled to resume my long delayed chemotherapy on Monday if all goes well and I don't wind up back in the hospital for some stupid reason. 

 As the popular saying goes, I’ve got cancer but cancer doesn’t have me…at least not yet.

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