One week ago today, our church hosted the stated meeting of our Presbytery – North Central Iowa Presbytery. It was a full, but amazing day.
First, I was thrilled to see how so many people from our church stepped up to help us be gracious hosts for people who were traveling from all over the state for the meeting. I was proud to be a part of our church as Gabriel led our Presbytery in worship through beautiful piano and organ music, Linda coordinated our kitchen and cooked a delicious dinner for everybody, Sarah Butterfield managed a variety of technological needs throughout the day, Sara Hill coordinated events of the meeting with other Presbytery officials, our custodians, Joe and Tim, worked hard to make sure our facility was clean, Traci and Marlene coordinated details of the event with a variety of people leading up to the event, and then Chris and Laura helped out wherever they were needed, without complaint, working behind the scenes.
Additionally, we had multiple church members who volunteered their entire afternoon and evening. There simply isn’t enough space in this article to thank everybody for their hard work and contributions. I still hear comments from people in the Presbytery about the experience.
I also noticed something else that day. More than any other Presbytery meeting in recent years, I was particularly engaged in the meeting, throughout the day. I remember coming home, feeling encouraged by the gathering, and enlivened by the relationships that were strengthened during the day.
And then it dawned on me. The reason I was so engaged in this meeting, the reason that I felt like I got so much out of the experience was because I was part of it. Our church was hosting the meeting, and for the first time ever, I had a presentation during the agenda. More than any other Presbytery meeting, even the meetings requiring significant policy votes, I felt like my presence mattered last Tuesday.
This realization has caused me to reflect upon our experience in the church in general. The experience of how much we get out of church is directly proportional to how much we are participating in the life of the church. It’s a lot easier to feel as though church is optional in our lives when attendance doesn’t require us to participate in any meaningful way. Are we placing ourselves in positions where our presence matters or are we simply attendees? How have you experienced a deeper engagement in the church when you’ve participated more fully in its ministry?
Blessings, Austin Hill