Erving Goffman was a 20th Century sociologist quite famous for his research and writings about human behavior. Goffman wrote about what "normal" means, who is normal and what does it mean not to be normal. Often folks in conversation express opinions beginning with "We...". The implied expression is that a group of folks seem to agree on a common behavior or idea. "We" to a sociologist only has meaning if it is defined, e.g., how many people, which people, where, etc.
Candidly I do not know what normal means at Covenant Church. No two days are alike. No two Sundays are alike. Buildings are in perpetual renovation.
Folks move to town. Folks move away from town. Folks grow up. Folks grow older. Perpetual motion. Kinetic energy.
Not commotion. Not confusion. Planned change. Strategic. Focused.
We are determined to produce disciples. We are committed to preach and teach the gospel with intent to mature believers, stabilize their walk of faith, encourage them to evangelize, prepare for the tough times, and love doing the things Christ did to please his Heavenly Father.
We are in pursuit of ambitious goals. Placid waters stagnate. Frog ponds do not produce good fish. The waters flow. Sometimes we pray and test the waters, stirring them, asking God to move in a new and fresh way.
We dream Big dreams. We started dreaming of connecting our buildings in the 1990'/ and began working with architects. Buying more land. Modifying existing buildings in preparation. Remodeling the sanctuary. Working with county officials and lending institutions.
While we dreamed we were steady. Not a Sunday in 36 years have our doors been closed. Snow. Sleet. Rain. Cold. Heat. Wars.
WE NEVER CLOSE is our mantra.
We note that saints who labored and dreamed of joining our buildings together did not live to see the machines moving dirt, masons laying block and workers busy making preparations for steel, stone, walls, roof and new space for more people, more ministries, more salvations, more healings and more miracles.
Recently someone asked me if I had a word from the Lord for them. Before I could answer they continued: "Many have given my wife and me prophecies that God has something BIG for us!"
Without much hesitation I replied: "BIG is being faithful. BIG is doing justly, loving mercy and walking uprightly before the Lord thy God (Micah 6:8). BIG is being faithful over the little things, daily living a sanctified life, walking in grace and encouraging others. BIG is one day hearing Our Lord Jesus welcome us home with "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:1).
Tomorrow is a mystery. This I know about today. It has been lived fully and well. A pillow with a clear conscience is a rich man's bed. Sleep of innocence because of God's grace is blessed.
My hope is that you will move to the center of Covenant. Ask in prayer before God what your part is in making Covenant a warm, hospitable, gracious place with open doors and open arms that can welcome persons without regard to country, culture or color.
Let us pray that when we meet together our fellowship is sanctified, holy and edifying. Let us pray that each time we meet we are stronger, more bold to witness, more humble to serve and more committed to be obedient to the Holy Spirit.
Whatever normal is, I pray for the Holy Spirit to stir us to new heights.
Pastor Harold Bare