forms, details and arrangements

paperworkThere’s a lot to sort out when you are moving job. All sorts of forms need filling, lots of details need dealing with, arrangements need arranging and so on.

It is probably not the case but it feels more complicated when the ‘jobs’ are church-related. In addition to the forms, details and arrangements, there is a church family to say goodbye to, there are lots of ‘last [insert meeting type here] meetings’, there are final thoughts to share and at the same time (unless you are retiring) there is a new church / role to be anticipated with forms, details and arrangements (like arranging an Induction service). It’s complicated and (occasionally) confusing.

I made a mistake when I was trying to arrange a time to visit a church in my new role but looking at my current diary. I got the wrong month and thought I was available on certain dates, which I offered, and then when one was accepted this morning I tried to put the meeting in the correct month and found that I was double booked with a meeting for my current church and the need for a meeting in the new role at the same time on the same evening. I hate it when I do that because it means that I am letting at least one of the groups down.

I now have to ask for grace from the people with whom the second meeting was trying to be arranged and look more disorganised than I usually am.

All of this has got me thinking about how churches can fail to realise how big a thing it can be for someone to say that they want to become a Christian: we might say that they are moving from darkness to light. When we talk to people about it, or preach about it, we can make it all seem so easy and simple.

There are far fewer forms to fill and perhaps fewer arrangements to arrange, but all of a sudden there are new details to deal with: possible lifestyle changes; a new timetable (to allow church attendance); loss of sleep (if Sunday morning lie-ins have to be surrendered in the new timetable); friends and family to tell (and their unpredictable reactions to consider); possible implications for employment; a new language to learn (church-speak) and so much more.

When Jesus said, “Follow me,” it all sounded so simple. So how did we make it so complicated? But at least he warned people about the cost… do we?

Be blessed, be a blessing

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