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Regeneration - the process of renewal, restoration, and growth that makes genomes, cells, organs, organisms, and ecosystems [and churches] resilient to natural fluctuations or events that cause disturbance or damage. Every species is capable of regeneration, from bacteria to humans [and churches].
Our forum was a timely reminder that things not only can change, they inevitably do change.
I’m celebrating what a wonderful thing it is to have the opportunity to participate in the regeneration of Imani which is currently underway! We had a wonderful congregational forum last Sunday, which has already proven to be productive. I am grateful for everyone who attended, participated, and for those who stepped up and volunteered to fill some long-vacant positions in the church. They are already at work and doing a great job! There is such an atmosphere of renewal and expectancy! Good things are on the horizon!
If you look at our bulletin for this Sunday, you will see names where there previously weren’t any. That is because we have a brand new and revived Worship Coordination Team who wasted no time getting organized and actively recruiting worship participants for the next three months. If you join us for worship you’ll see that we will have more people actively participating. We agreed, at the forum, to be intentional about making room for everyone who wants to be involved.
We agreed to re-evaluate our giving and our service to the church. We want everything that we do to be done “as unto the Lord;” which means that we agree to hold ourselves to high standards of excellence and to give God our best.
We are blessed by the return of live music to our worship! We’re grateful to a friend of the church who is filling in while we are praying for God to lead us to a music minister (or lead a music minister to us) who will re-build and provide leadership to a choir for us, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We want a person who understands what he or she is doing to be praise, not performance; someone who is a music minister, not just a musician. We’re willing to wait for that!
We have volunteers for a new Congregational Care Team! There was a portion of the forum in which I invited the congregation - in a spirit of Love - to name what they perceive to be areas with room for growth and improvement at Imani. I was moved and impressed with their honesty and with the loving, non-judgmental way that several people offered comments that made clear that there is no doubt that Imani is a loving community. However, we could do a better job of reaching out to our members and friends to let them know we miss them when they are absent, or during times of illness or other crisis. We all heard that; and I am grateful for those who have stepped up to ensure that it will happen.
Our forum was a timely reminder that things not only can change, they inevitably do change. And, while change can be stressful, our ability to regenerate is also the single greatest source of hope we have of long-term relationships, of any kind, being both sustainable and healthy. Relationships that don’t change stagnate. Stagnation is neither healthy nor good. That applies in our personal relationships, in our relationship with ourselves, and in church community where the goal is to nurture and support relationship with God, with ourselves, with our partners and families, and with each other. Granted, that is a tall order! But Jesus was so much about relationships - how can the church not be?
My prayer, for Imani, is that together we will embrace the opportunity we have, at this time, to move beyond transition into a season of regeneration. I believe that we can do that any time that we form the intention to do so. But it is never easier to regenerate than during or immediately after a season of loss or transition. That’s the nature of regeneration. It is the ability to self-heal, to re-group, re-organize and re-cover that which has been lost or left exposed or damaged, or showing signs of wear and tear. The ability to regenerate is the ability to compensate for whatever has been missing, by putting something new in place to meet the need. I’ve always said that the church is not just an organization, it is an organism. It is part of the Body of Christ. So we have in common, with all living organisms, the ability to regenerate.
We are doing that. And we welcome all who wish to be a part of it. Just come check us out - even if you’ve been here before and think you know us. Come, especially, if you have unfinished business or a need for healing and reconciliation with the church. We are undergoing a Spirit-driven process of regeneration! So I can’t tell you, yet, specifically what differences you’ll see; but I can promise that you will see some differences from whatever you experienced here before. God is doing a new thing! Come and see!