(I wrote the article below for my Associate Pastor column in the church’s upcoming newsletter. As the start to the new Children’s Ministry and Youth Group year approaches (less than 2 weeks! Eekk!), I remind myself that change is good, all will be well, and not to panic. Plus, I know God has my back, as does my church. And let’s face it – All of us have been there and dealt with change. Whatever change it might be – new job, new home, divorce, loss of job, a birth, good news or bad news – we’ve all been there. Yet there is hope, is there not? Hope that all will be well, people will support, and for faith believers, that hope also comes with knowing God is guiding us. So, cheers to change and may all of us not panic too much in the face of that change.)
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” Genesis 12: 1
I often wonder how Abram (Abraham) and Sarai (Sarah) felt when God told them to pack it up and go. Abram and Sarai had to deal with change in a short period of time. There was no debating about leaving, no finding the right apartment or home or job. Were they frightened? Were they scared God might be leading them astray? Abram and Sarai were human after all, so my guess is they were afraid. And yet they went, with all of their belongings on their back, family in tow, and a promise from God, a trust that hope is on the horizon.
Change is difficult. Don’t get me wrong, change can also be life-altering and amazing. It can lead to great experiences and wonderful hope. The kind of hope Abram and Sarai experienced. The kind that is mixed with doubt, fear and trust. In the end, this hopeful change allowed Abram and Sarai to become the founders of a great nation, establishing a relationship with God unlike anything the world had ever seen up to this point. The Bible tells the story about the outcome of God’s promise that began with Abram.
I love the story of Abram and Sarai, which is why I have been thinking about it as I work on the new faith formation program for the children. I can’t speak on behalf of the Children’s Ministry Team but I myself am nervous. I do not doubt the need for change to a different, more engaging faith formation program. I have fear over whether the children will like it, if leaders and assistants will step forward to cover all of the classes, if the change will in fact work and be worthwhile. I shouldn’t doubt or have this fear, but I do.
There is in fact a lot of positive excitement around the new program, format and name, which gives me hope. I trust that my church family will rally to support and embrace a new faith formation program. I trust that God will continue to guide this church and its ministries. I trust because there is hope, even amidst all of my anxiety, fear and doubt.. I suspect Abram and Sarai did the same thing as they trusted their gut and followed God without question.
Despite all of my fear and anxiety, I know this change is good. It’s hopefully going to bring new life into the church’s children’s ministry and allow the children and youth to grow in faith and fellowship.