Our church website has had a makeover. Viewers will now be alarmed by the sound and sight of Him Indoors speaking to them from cyberspace.
A few years ago, we celebrated the fifieth anniversary of our old church buildings (left) by demolishing them - as you do! We met in the local primary school for a year, which was great actually, and very liberating.
And now it is nearly three years ago since we took possession of our lovely new building. It is on the same site as the old one but in more than one way is a new creation.
As well as replacing the building we replaced the old outdated organisational structure, which had been great in its day but was now no longer appropriate to the modern world. In our denomination, elders tend to be asked to fulfil a similar list of obligations. A one-size-fits-all job description. And it was all originally based around the communion, a prerequisite of which would be that every member would be visited and questioned on their catechism by their elder. Our church decided that it would be better to try to have round pegs rather than square ones in round holes, and so did away with the old system.
Him Indoors and the then Session Clerk (whose wife's funeral was, very sadly, the first service in the new building - she was a great friend of ours and we mourned the third anniversary of her sudden passing yesterday) had a challenging few evenings. They interviewed each elder one at a time in our front room over a few days. In our Scottish culture, humility is valued above self confidence. They wanted to find out what the elders were good at in order to put them into teams. If you ask people here what they're good at, they blush and say, "Er, oh well, nothing much...", so we were given a wonderful tip from a wise Christian retired minister: ask them what they like doing. People almost always LIKE doing what they are GOOD AT doing. So Him Indoors and his sidekick apologised on behalf of the church to each elder, one at a time, for their having had to do things they didn't feel very good at, and asked what they liked doing. From that, instead of the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none scatter gun approach, specialist teams were formed: welcome team, property team, finance team, leadership team, pastoral team, discipleship team, and youth/kids' work team. It has been amazing to witness this develop over the last few years. People are now free to be what God designed and shaped them for. How liberating for all, and how much better the church is served by happy folk!
Our new building is great, our new organisational structure is great, and numbers are growing. This brings further work of course, and resources are stretched, but it's a great "problem". Today we had a service of dedication where, at the start of the new session, all the organisations, and also all of us generally were asked to recommit themselves to God. We have been exceedingly blessed. God has been really very good to us and we don't take it for granted but are truly grateful.