It was the beginning of our journey to becoming a church that was seeking to the follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  The elders and I had found that the people of the Church of God of Landisville actually had a great deal of vision.  It simply wasn’t focused. We were leading a process called Thinking Forward Meetings where we were inviting the people to prayerfully seek the wisdom of the Spirit and an answer two questions.  “Give the gifts and passions God has given this church, what do you think God is leading us to do at this time?”  And secondly, “What do you dream of God doing through this church in the future.”  Key word in the instructions – prayerfully.

We received some very clear answers through this process that helped us focus on what the Holy Spirit was calling us to do and to become as the Church of God of Landisville.

But we received a message that we had not anticipated.  It came at a small group meeting attended largely by some of the oldest members of the congregation.  It came first from the lips of 80 year old Bernie McFarland.  “You know pastor, most people in this town think of us as the rich church on the hill.”  (We sat on the only high ground in town and had great stained-glass windows.)  “But if we disappeared tomorrow,” she continued, “no one would miss us.”

This unleashed a chorus of agreement and expressions of deep concern that this state of affairs could not–must  not continue.  That “holy discontent” stirred a fire within us to become what we first called “an outward-focused church” and ultimately would describe in the kingdom words, “the best church for our community.”

May God bless your congregation with a powerful, irresistible sense of “holy discontent.”

(C) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn

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