That is the question that we will be asking our small church this Thursday.
When we moved here a year ago, we were excited, but we also had a lot of fears: Is this really God’s will? Are we ready for a shift in ministry from serving refugees to reaching traditional Austrians? Will our friends and supporting churches join us on this new vision? Will we be able to make new friends? Will God continue to bless us and our ministry? Over the last year, these fears have quieted and dissipated, but they haven’t been quite extinguished. God promises us joy and peace, but sometimes fear still pops up. As a church, we experience this too.
We are meeting every week for church service. We have a great worship team and a growing kids ministry. Twenty-six people have signed up to join a new small group. This week we added a new church member, and we recently had our first request for baptism. We have a roof over our heads and will be moving into the new sanctuary soon. God is very good. But as often happens when stepping out into the new unknown, there are also fears: How will new people change us and the church? What will the church look like in a year? Will we lose the close relationships we have with each other? Will our teaching change in order to reach new people?
For the last several months, we have been meeting as a community to hear from each other and to dream about what kind of church we want to be. In our last meeting, some of these fears came to the surface. It wasn’t our plan, but it was good to hear from a few people who our worried about the future. This Thursday, fear is our topic. In what direction should our church not develop?
This is an important discussion for us as a community as we learn to hear from each other, learn to be open with one another, and learn to accept each other even when we have differences. We expect that for some people things are changing too fast. For others, things are not moving fast enough. For some we are too old-fashioned, for others too modern. We also expect some theological fears as we try to be a church that welcomes people with different theological backgrounds. We are the only evangelical church in the county. We want to offer a home for people who love Jesus and accept differences in theological issues and worship styles.
Please pray for this meeting and for our church as we move forward. Pray that we will respond wisely. Pray that we won’t listen to fear, but that we will listen to each other and that together we will find the way forward.