The Ingredients That Make Us

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!


The Ingredients That Make Us2012-06-15T07:36:49-06:00

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…

I think there is a lot of truth in that old song that Cheers made famous. Sometimes you do want to go where everyone knows your name. But, I’m realizing that there is another truth, similar, yet unstated (in the song at least). As great as it is to go somewhere where everyone knows your name, it’s also good to be in a place where you know others’ names as well.

Let me explain a little bit.

Every summer I used to preach for one month at Emmanuel Faith Community Church. EFCC is a 5000 person church in a town of about 150,000. So, it’s a pretty big church, in a sort of small town. That means that if you preach at EFCC, a lot of people know who you are! I would walk around for the few months after preaching and I’d have people come up and start talking to me… and I had no idea who they were. I have to admit, it was a bit awkward. I called people “buddy” and “pal” and “you” all summer!

I find myself in the same position again now. Starting in a new fairly public position like a pastor tends to lend itself to that. Everyone at South Fellowship knows my name. They know my family. They know a lot of details about us. But at this point (hopefully not for much longer), I know very few people here. I was just walking down the hall and had a person joyfully greet me stating, “Hi Ryan!I thought it was you, we are so glad that you’re here!” The greeting was one that I would expect from a long time friend (which I hope we become), but not one from someone I have never met. I love the excitement, but I hate the feeling of not knowing the person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the greeting and hope to receive many more just like it. I just wish I had something other than “Hi buckaroo” to offer in return.

I think that’s the hardest part about starting out. Not knowing. I’m a people person and I want to know the people that God has called me to live life with. I want to know their joys, their pains, their struggles, the things that they find beautiful, and the things that break their hearts. I want to know them.

In time it will come. Sometimes it’s great to go where everyone knows your name, but I think it’s just as sweet to be in a place where you know the names of everyone else as well! I’m excited for that day.

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…2012-06-08T23:20:00-06:00
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