Sunday, November 18, 2007
two words that can heal and cause growth...
I rediscovered a story this past week....the story of a church that came back to life simply because the members and leaders remembered how to say "Thank you." When presbytery folks had decided that the time had come to close the church, another chapter of the story was written. At one of the lowest moment of the church's story the church received an extravagant gift....two carved doors with stain glass panels.
Leaders worried that such a gift would complicate the process of closure. But, before they could get the process moving the doors were installed. That's when God began doing something that the congregation and the leaders had failed to do. It was as if each time those doors opened and closed, God was whispering. "Be thankful! Be thankful! Be thankful!"
That's exactly what happened. The church got caught up in the act of being thankful, and that's when the church began to grow.
I believe that many churches and in particular the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has put far too much trust and hope and faith in things like statistical reports, long rang task forces and carefully worded vision statements. I have failed to see or hear of any church grow because of a statistical report. Even when a new church was planted in the perfect neighborhood, as statistics had indicated, the church died. Reports, analysis, and carefully worded statements will not grow a church.
What will? Gratitude, the act of being thankful. The courage and grace and sometimes the risk of saying out loud, "Thank you."
It seems too sophomoric. We would rather hold a piece of paper in our hand with colored bar codes projecting the future. And all God desires is that we be thankful.
Two words have the power to heal and to cause growth. "Thank you."
If you don't believe it....then start saying these two words and see what happens.