In order to know people, you need to know their history – some of the things that have happened in their life to make them who they are. I think we all have a few of those “defining moments;” moments when life takes a drastic turn, moments that we look back on and see them for what they truly were – God forming us more into his image.
This reality is not only true for us as individuals, but it’s true for churches as well. That’s why it was so important for me to take a “tour de South.” I wanted to hear some of the stories, see the different sites where South has met over the years, and get to know some of the ways God has worked to make this body of believers who they are today. And what a great day it was!
I got to hear about South’s theological conviction that gave South the strength to walk away from a building that they had been meeting in for years (many PCUSA churches are wrestling with making the same decision these days) and I got to see the sites where they met during the ‘nomadic years.’ Getting to picture the dedication of the people of South in the setting up of chairs, sounds systems, and welcome areas for 12 years gave me a greater vision of what it means to be the church together. And, hearing about the vision for the shopping center that we now own gave me a better understanding of the heartbeat of the leadership back in the early 90’s – wanting to create a sustainable model of ministry that would be missional in its own neighborhood. Seeing the way that Solid Grounds, the food bank, and the ELC have begun to fulfill this vision is amazing to see.
I’m honored to help lead a group of people with such a great legacy. The legacy gives me grey anticipation for an amazing future that lies ahead of us.
A huge thanks to my guide along the way Carolyn Schmitt! She filled in the black and white of ‘just the facts’ with color of the climate of the people, the frustrations, and the joys along the way.
What a great day!