This year's Midwinter Conference for Covenant pastors was nothing short of inspiring. The worship band surprised us at every turn, taking us into new and familiar songs. The speakers opened up scripture in deep, fresh ways. The moments of sharing were less like the old announcements and pitches than fresh glimpses into the lives of other pastors on the road with us. Some of the new initiatives that the Covenant is launching (Cov Kids/Congo) are really exciting. And it was all wrapped and packaged in the beautiful setting of the Hyatt Regency O'Hare.
Then I came home to the real church with an address, members, boundaries, budgets, and messes. The photo above is what's happening right now in our children's playground area. We are in the process of installing a new, state-of-the-art playground for children from a generous gift from a family. Painstaking time was invested in playground companies and dates for demolition of the old equipment, preparation of the site (removal of chips and old concrete footings) and the installation of the new equipment.
The Bobcat arrived Friday to finish the site preparation and all was going smoothly until....the sink hole of mud sucked the Bobcat right down. No error on the operator's part. Nobody knew that there was a three feet deep oozing mud hole ready to eat the Bobcat, stopping progress till Monday when bigger equipment will have to come in to extract the Bobcat.
I look at that Bobcat and smile. That's what so much of ministry looks like: great plans, good people, and then a mud hole that stops us in our tracks and slows down our time tables. The challenge for us pastors is to graciously lead our churches through and out of the mud holes on to firm ground again.