Sunday, November 05, 2006

Yes, that's my church!

Really, it is. A few old friends have asked me this week, "Do you go to that church in the Springs whose pastor has been in the news?" Yes, I do. And right now, I couldn't be more proud. That might sound like a crazy response to this situation, but getting to this point has been a process...let me give you a window into my emotions over the past few days.

First, when I heard the allegations against Pastor Ted on Thursday, I thought, "Forget about it." No way could it be true. It almost seemed laughable--it had to be a crazy election-week ploy. I woke up Friday morning to the news that Pastor Ted had admitted that some of the allegations were true but his explanation seemed unbelievable. Scott and I were both rocked to the core. Do you remember how you felt the morning of September 11th, 2001? Dazed? Unable to think about anything else? Like your reality had just been permanently altered? That's how I felt on Friday morning. I was overcome with such sadness and disbelief. It didn't change my faith in God, but it made me worry about our church's reputation and our witness to our city, to our state, and to the world. On Friday at noon, Scott and I made our way over to the World Prayer Center at our church to let God in to make some sense of it all. When I walked into the chapel, I was greeted by flags from all over the world and the huge globe spinning, suspended in the air. Suddenly, what was happening in my heart and mind seemed miniscule. I read the prayer requests from people all over the world. I read about people being persecuted for their faith in some of the darkest countries in the world. I paced and prayed and worshipped the Lord. I thanked God for reminding me that, though the events of the past day had rocked me, they hadn't rocked my world. That God's hand is firmly on our church and working all over the world, despite the turmoil in which we had found ourselves. When I left the World Prayer Center, I was feeling better than when I had arrived, but I still wasn't feeling at peace. Then came Sunday...

I spent about four hours at church today. I haven't done that since I worked for a church--it felt so good. I needed the time there. I needed to worship, to be surrounded by a body of believers who were experiencing the same emotions. I needed to be led by pastors who were strong in their commitment to our church and who believed in the power of God working through us to change our city and our world. To say the least, I was not let down. I needed to know that our church staff wasn't going to dissolve, to fall apart without Pastor Ted. I needed to know that they still love and respect Pastor Ted. I needed to hear that our church is stronger now than it was a week ago. Everything I needed, they gave.

Before this experience, I'd never really understood the verse, "In our weakness, he is strong." I mean, understood it theoretically, but today I felt it. I experienced the power of God bringing together broken people, broken leaders. Before this series of events, I was always a bit sheepish to admit that I'm a New Lifer. I always qualified it by saying, "I go to New Life...but I started out going on Saturday Nights. It's different - a different pastor, different band, different feeling. The Saturday Night New Life is the kind of New Lifer I am." I no longer feel like I have to make that qualification. Now I'm just a New Lifer. I'm proud to be a New Lifer. I'm proud of how our church has reacted to this situation. I'm proud of the example we're setting for other churches who might experience something similar. I'm proud of our resolve to love Pastor Ted, Miss Gayle, and their kids for the rest of their lives. Tonight Pastor Rob told us that in the past three days, he's had enough conversations with Pastor Ted to know that Ted is "authentically humble, authentically repentant, and authentically a man of God." What a breath of fresh air. To know that when we sin there is forgiveness, there is love, their is counsel waiting on the other side. Pastor Ted will never again hold a leadership role in our church, but he will always have a home here. That's the kind of church I want to be a part of.

1 comment:

Julie said...

It's so encouraging to hear your perspective on the whole situation. That's the side of Christianity that I wish the whole world could see. Thanks for sharing!