1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
This was the passage I opened our last Church Conference with. Our church conferences are quarterly, or called, affairs to deal with the business of the church and issues related to membership. Some call them “business meetings” (probably my least favorite of all time) and other “member meetings” (I like the sound of that). We interchange the name in casual conversation between “member meeting” and “church conference”, but Church Conference is the official meeting.
This last meeting was particularly challenging as we were gathered to discuss the proposed church budget for 2011, which included some very difficult reductions, none more difficult than the removal of staff positions. As you can imagine (or experienced if you were there) the questions were many, and emotions more present than usual. Now, it should be emotional. The church is family and when dealing with people, particularly removal for one reason or another, should be the most emotionally wrenching thing before us.
The body handled itself well, and while it was definitely intense, the overall sense was it was a “good” meeting with hearts warm, minds tired, and a general sense of unity. Again, it’s family. I believe that when we gather for any business / member matter, the Lord’s glory is at stake as is the witness of the church. No matter how temporal matters may be on paper, they have eternal impact for the kingdom through the local body. This is why it is IMPERATIVE that we have marked humility in the body, because “the humble hear” and will be glad. This implies the proud are stiff-necked and, therefore, are not people of praise or edification.
Blessing the Lord (being happily satisfied in the Lord) at all times is a command that promises blessing, because always blesses the people who seek His glory above all other agendas. That may be the single greatest reason I love the body of UBC. I believe we are full of people who will fight to bless the Lord at all times, and people who battle for that by promoting humility. This is why I love (crazy as it sounds) committee meetings and church conferences. These are places that most often reveal the character of the church and can promote her glorifying God. Plus, they are places that can surprise people when the presence of the Spirit is evident when hashing out budget reductions, renegotiating loans (hate debt), or evaluating paid employees of the church.
Stay steadfast, UBC. You continue to receive the Word preached, and you continue to see the Word practiced. You are doing well and health will bear fruit, as it is already doing in our midst.