People often ask me:” What is it that you do day to day?” or “What does being a pastor/church planter involve?” I usually answer, somewhat jokingly, in one word: meetings. In the Anglican church, which places a high value on leadership and voice, and in church ministry in general there are a lot of meetings: worship team meetings, vestry meetings, leadership team meetings, clergy meetings, all parish meetings, diocesan council meetings, and on and on.
This last Saturday morning was a big meeting with a long and blood stirring title: Diocesan Convening Convention. This was to be a four hour gathering of representatives from 30 different congregations coming together to ratify the “constitution and canons” for a new diocese in the Upper Midwest. Now, I know that the thought that immediately rises in your mind is “wow, that sounds exciting! I wish I had been there!” Furthermore, I bet you thought “that would be a great meeting to invite some of your youth to!” And you if you thought that you’d actually be right.
In addition to lay delegates from Greenhouse’s six Spanish speaking congregations, three young delegates ages 15, 12 and 16 came to represent New Generation Anglican Church. I was a bit unsure how this would be for them, but by the end I was so glad they were there. And they loved it.
When asked what they thought they all said it was a bit long, but were quick to excitedly comment on how much they liked the time of worship through music or how cool it was hearing from and meeting Bishop Nathan Gasatura from Rwanda who was the guest preacher and who brought some Pentecostal fire and passion to the gathering. They, as official delegates, were given the privilege to sign a document ratifying the constitutions and canons, the foundational framework for a Diocese which will, God willing, impact countless generations to come in the Upper Midwest for the Glory of God. Receiving copies of this document, they were quick to show it to their parents on returning home, excitedly pointing out with pride their signatures on a document very much looking like the Declaration of Independence.
I realized that when the Church comes together it honors God and the Spirit is truly present in a special way. The Church gathered with the presence of the Spirit is in itself a powerful Gospel witness and testimony, especially when it is both culturally diverse in nature and includes representatives from around the world, such as Bishop Nathan from Rwanda. For members of a specific ethnic group and small local congregation, such as New Generation, it wonderfully broadens their understanding of the one, holy, catholic church and the work of God around the world.
What could be better for the formation of these young followers of Jesus who have only been a part of the Church for a year or less?
Praise God for “meetings”!