In last Thursday’s post, I mentioned a return trip from a conference in South Carolina with some of my Methodist preacher friends.
The group with which I travelled is a collection of twenty-five pastors from Western North Carolina Methodism who are part of what is called the Reynolds Leadership Program. We gather together three times a year to learn from other churches, receive training in leadership, and foster deeper relationships with one another.
But at this most recent meeting, I actually did some teaching. It’s always nerve-wracking to make a presentation to one’s peers, and this day was no exception. I simply shared some of Good Shepherd’s story, and focused in on strategy, series, and sermons.
In the middle of all that, two phrases that we use here seemed to resonate the most with my colleagues:
1) We try to de-clutter people’s lives and minds. That’s why our sermons tend to have one point rather than many; it’s why we streamline our Sunday bulletins rather than including information about every program and meeting; and it’s why the walls of our church are clean and spare rather than cluttered with bulletin boards and flyers.
2) We hope to de-weird the Holy Spirit. All too often, teaching about the Holy Spirit is just odd enough that it appeals only to a small segment of the Christian population. We believe that what the Holy Spirit brings to believers’ lives is too important to marginalize in that way. So we do our best to teach the radical truths of the Spirit’s power . . . and yet do so in a way that makes sense to new Christians.
All in all, it was an anxiety-filled honor to teach in front of my friends, and perhaps more churches in Western North Carolina will get excited about de-cluttering and de-weirding.