One thing was said during the preaching workshop that has stuck with me through the remainder of the week. The group was discussing the 'problem' of local preachers being compared to preaching superstars on TV and Radio. I think it was Michael Walters who said the real advantage of a local minister is our presence. It's a simple concept, but in some ways I feel like I haven't been 'truly' present in our church community. Sure, I've been physically present almost every time the church gathers for the past 4 years, but it has been, at times, a lonely kind of presence.
There have been certain times in my life where I've truly been part of a community. As an early teen there were 4 of us at the church. We were best friends. Ryan, Joe, Tom & I did everything together. But things changed. Then, of course, there were certain times at BBC where I was totally 'at home,' so to speak. I had a core of friends that I was totally comfortable with.
But in the past 4 years, I realize now, I haven't really let anyone get very close. I didn't purposefully prevent it. Perhaps I was just concentrating so much on being a good minister TO the church community that I stopped being part OF the community. Each of the past year's I've looked forward to Family Camp as the 1 week of the year where I can just relax and enjoy a great friendship or two, but I'm starting to wonder why I couldn't experience that all year long. I think I can. And I know there are some great friends to be had in our church community. And I'm glad to be starting to build those friendships. And I think I'll find that in becoming a closer friend, I also become a more effective minister.