Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12:10
In what areas did you thrive? What do you consider your successes?
Is the Kelly Clarkson song stuck in your head now? I can’t seem to get it out of mine as I think about the holy dance that seems to happen when struggle and growth collide. Most of us can look back on our lives and name the places where struggle has born strength, where we have learned from difficulty and where we’ve adjusted course because of it all. The same is often true in our relationships with other people. Challenging times call for perseverance, which leads to strength.
Paul talks about it in his letter to the Corinthians (quoted above) and the Prepare-Enrich article reminds us that, “Interestingly, some of [our] biggest success may have been overcoming the challenges” listed in last week’s post.
As I think about the many successes we have shared in the last few years, I am truly in awe of all that God has allowed to flourish and grow in this challenging season.
We’ve continued to pray together. The Wednesday morning prayer group has been a significant point of connection for many of us. We’ve shared joys, praises, concerns, and grief in this sacred time. And the “sacred hour” is early! We meet at 7:45 am, a time that probably wouldn’t work at all for a traditional, in-person prayer meeting. Instead, we gather “just as we are” so to speak. We are sweaty from a morning jog. We are sipping on the first cup of coffee. We are proudly sporting our “bed hair.” We are not yet ready for the day, so we draw near to God. Through this experience, we’ve learned there are others who want to join a prayer group (just not so early in the morning). So we’re starting an evening prayer group for the season of Lent. Stay tuned for more information on that.
We hosted the first Annual Action Fair. Together, we hosted a totally new event in the midst of a pandemic! The Action Fair brought together local artists and crafts-people and raised money for the Welcome House Network. In addition to the event itself, several GBC-ers gathered together to create items to sell at the fair. For me, this was such a joyous event. It was creative, it was community driven, and it helped Welcome House. That’s a win-win-win!
We are financially healthy. For sometime now, Greystone has been doing the very difficult, painful work of right-sizing our budget. Talk about struggle! These last two years have shown the fruit from all of that labor. For two consecutive years, we have finished strong, with a surplus of funds from your generous giving. Yes, expenses have been down due to COVID and some normal ministries that can’t really happen right now. That doesn’t change the fact that together, we have given our financial resources back to God, trusting God to use them for Kingdom work here on earth. This calls for celebration! Look at God!
We are continuously reflecting and adapting. It is no secret that the pandemic has caused everyone and everything to pivot. The church, our church, has pivoted well! For an institution that is not always known for flexibility and innovation (speaking of the global church here, not only Greystone), we have embraced that change is the new norm. We may not love it, but we have embraced it with grace, with hope, and with love for one another along the way. These are only a few areas in which we have “thrived” as a church in recent years. These were the first things that came to my mind. What comes to yours?