I have seen God's redemptive love in my life this year....God brought me together with an amazing, loving, faithful community in my congregation. Here's what I love most about them:
My congregation is incredibly generous with their resources, both financial and personal...if a need is brought forward, it is met....usually before the end of the conversation.
The folks at our church love their pastors...even the ones they don't necessarily like. They care for, nurture, and give privacy to their pastors...rare gifts indeed.
They do not hesitate to open themselves and their church to the larger community.
My congregation is incredibly open to learning new things, trying new approaches, and hearing differing viewpoints. We can disagree about things and still be friends.
Folks in our congregation are not afraid to voice an opinion, ask a question, or challenge an idea....and they (usually) are able to do it in a way that honors and respects others who may have different opinions. There is a genuineness that prevails and it is lovely.
When the kids in the congregation do something (anything) the whole body surrounds and supports them. This says a lot about who they are.
The congregation genuinely cares about the world, people, the community...and they aren't afraid to get their hands dirty doing something to help.
When we hold a Bible study or prayer class, easily 10 per cent of the congregation shows up...really! For a community outreach event, easily half or more show up...this is an incredibly active community of faith!
This is a congregation that has been together for 295 years...they were a community before we were a country...they've survived through many wars, a depression, social unrest, natural disasters, just about anything life can throw at them. Their commitment to maintaining the body of Christ and loyalty to God and to their community is a thing of beauty.
There are no sign up sheets for fellowship hour and yet there is always an array of delicious treats someone has brought. They nurture their community.
I know Midwestern women can throw down in the kitchen....but the women in the Hudson Valley will give you all a serious run for your money! The women in our congregation show up at potluck events with arugula salads and couscous!
Speaking of food...my congregation makes sure there are gluten-free selections (plural) for their pastor at every event. How awesome is that??
I love this group of Christ followers...and I am blessed beyond measure to be their pastor. Praise be to God!