Administration First
I’m thinking about moving this site to a domain of it’s own. Mainly so that I can start to load additional pages etc etc. Categorise things a bit better, keep it tidier. I’m torn though, because that might then suggest that I’m taking my own writing here a bit too seriously. It’s hard to figure out the balance.

And then there are the considerations of what to actually call my domain.. there’s the obvious, but then, I’ve been wondering lately about whether or not, branding myself so strongly as tashmcgill is such a good idea.

Other Projects
One of the reasons this is coming up, is because with a good friend or two, we are planning to launch a NZ based web interface for resources, both hosting, directing and supplying. The flavour of this site will be distinctive in that it’s not just a list of references to pages that will undoubtedly be out of date and hard to navigate.

The idea is that we can use this, or offer this as a web interface for both idea development in terms of dialogue and discussion for both lay people and practitioners, as well as a directory and review forum for products in the NZ market. Youth ministry, young adult ministry, small group, general church, spirituality resources, personal spirituality resources and referenced to a NZ context. Big hopes for how it could be used to help people out.

Thinking
I have to preach on Sunday, which is an opportunity that both lifts me up and disheartens me. I’m constantly being thrust around at this point in regards to whether or not I’ve chosen the right message, am delivering it the right way.. whether I’m clear or too abstract.

Mostly I want preaching to be like attending a great live performance. I relate it to performance simply because I want the craft of my delivery to be so high, that people can’t help but be engaged on an emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical level. Like going to a good show.. where it’s just been chords, melodies, harmonies and lyrics, but you’ve transcended in the 90mins you’ve been listening.

I would like very much for listening to me to be an engaging experience.. where the tribe of Windsor might feel just as revived and invigorated as you do from going to see a great movie or concert.

So .. can I take my heartfelt and sincere message, that is grounded in Scripture and theology, and shape it into a performance piece that will move and transform?

Ask me Monday. Or maybe ask them on Monday.

Ongoing Conflict Resolution
I was at a bit of a loss to talk about this earlier in the week. The interdepartmental crisis, that is. I wasn’t sure how to talk about it in a way that wouldn’t sound destructive rather than constructive.

But as the week has gone on, and emails have flown back and forth, conversations made, questions asked, attitudes readjusted and wisdom sought.. I think now is an okay time, to talk about my thoughts and reflections. To seek out understanding and some sort of lesson.

..This is a quote from someone else’s email, please respect that it’s outlining the issues, not attacking the subject, and consider that we hold all parties in utmost regard
it was disappointing that our open worship practice was cancelled. While some of the issues have been explained ..think that it was an unnecessary step because of unwillingness to compromise. .. Overall it was disappointing that such a good idea, (and from the number of people that needed to be contacted or turned away last night, also a well received one) was not given a chance to flourish through what seems to be just a lack of communication…we understand that the kids program have hired some expensive equipment…given the forum of what we were trying to achieve … don’t believe that we would have had any problems with equipment even being touched let alone damaged. If it was a case of someone guaranteeing to pay for any damage, to avoid this situation in the future, put my name down…Another issue is the way that the evening community was treated on Sunday night, …. there was a disrespectful attitude with the way that individuals were communicated to not to mention the congregation as a whole. To have a service on worship, with an extended period of worship at the end of the service ended in such an abrupt way felt like a bit of a kick in the teeth.. it also adds to disappointment where, just due to sheer coincidence, we had decided to make this practice an open one after such an excellent foundation had been laid by Brian on Sunday. I am also aware that sometimes as Christians we have another way of describing a ‘sheer coincidence’…
..at the end of the day I would like the hear that the practice was closed due to real and actual concerns for the holiday program and the equipment that they were using and a communication breakdown around this area, rather than a case of us rolling over because in the situation it is easier to say no to us than it is to take on *** and other areas of the church leadership…

Okay.. so here are some thoughts.

The kids holiday programme is a major part of the community work that we do each year and the Kids ministry staff and volunteers ought to be congratulated for such an amazing job. There are volunteers from both the morning and evening congregations involved.

The open worship practice was an experiment in finding another avenue and space for people to connect with God in a less structured format than a Sunday night service. We do not know how successful it would and should be, and it’s an unknown, not tied to a particular timeframe and can be attempted again in a month or so.

However..

The crux of the whole thing came down to this after the Spirit of God was present and moving as we played on Monday night, after having to turn people away at the door on Monday night, having already invited people before knowing that we would be forced to cancel…what follows are private conversations, so respect them as such, and not as public opinions..

> We should have simply let people come in last night who arrived. Somehow I don’t think that following the rules here on earth, made my halo shine any brighter in heaven last night. That would have been taking the initiative to see truth for what is .. People would have met with Jesus because He was there, regardless of permission.

>> Exactly, and that is why I got you to go, I guess in the hope that you would make some kind of noise about not wanting to do it and then I probably would have come back with some kind of comment about how I invited these people to come and see Jesus and I wasn’t going to turn them away. It sounds weird but as I get older I know that these things are coming but I couldn’t have just said to you last night “Let them come in”, because I hadn’t formed that phrase yet, I just knew what was right. I think that we have missed an opportunity, and this is the second time, and we need to stop doing this.

> The dilemma in my head was probably pretty obvious. Either do it, because it certainly wasn’t fair to make someone else on the team wear the responsibility, or don’t do it and make the team wear the responsibility of wilful disobedience with good intentions. The absurdity of the situation was ridiculously apparent, but I didn’t feel like it was going to be alright to put that burden of responsibility on the shoulders of the team. I was resigned to being obedient, rather than my gut instincts leading the way. Not an excuse, and foolish me for missing the cue from you last night, to find the window of mutual agreement that perhaps would have allowed for the opportunity to be taken up regardless; .. the reality is whichever way it goes I wear the responsibility . be

cause the decree was made but the ground wasn’t surrendered until I relented into actually sending people away.

>> These things are learn as you go, that is why people with experience know these things and we are only learning. I think that if you had spoken right from the start and said “Look, this is the situation, but I want to disobey the leadership for these reasons, and I am going to cop some flak for it and you might to, what are your
thoughts” you would have been surprised how many people would have agreed with your stance. Without sounding like a total idiot I think that when I was the first to agree with you that would have bought whoever was wavering to our side, if there would have been anyone at all.

Wilful Disobedience
Here’s the bind.. in this most minor of circumstance.. the obvious thing was that there was no way that the presence of 25 extra people in a space that wasn’t cluttered was going to in anyway hinder the operation of the kids programme the next day. There was no good reason to turn them away, and yet turn them away I did.

On my knees crying out for God to move and people to be motivate towards spending their time for the sake of devotion and adoration, and then when they turned up, I sent them away.

Because although it was obvious that no harm was going to come from it, and that God was definitely present and moving.. it would have been wilfully disobedient. And so maybe not a good reason to turn people away, but certainly a reason.

Where was the trust? Even now nearly a week on, I’m still torn. In a do-over, I still can’t decide, whether I would let them in, because it really was such a minor deal, or to hold to the principle of submitting to leadership.

I don’t know what the right thing to do was, and I have no peace about what I did.

What do you think?