I have been struggling along on the edge of depression – again. It seems to reoccur without warning or without announcement. I honestly started this blog because I hoped to write every week…and I haven’t even kept close to that kind of schedule.
Laying that aside, however, I am not writing to elicit sympathy. I write because I am deeply conflicted about some of the issues confronting my life, my church, my community and my world. Writing helps me sort out my thoughts…which if you look at how often I’ve posted may mean I don’t think very often!!
One of the conflicts I am struggling with – the nature and role of a church, particularly a church of older adults (pastored by a 57 yr old dinosaur) that desperately wants to reach our community but seems stymied by strategies. Church planting is the advertised and promoted strategy, but in a community where the population numbers are stagnant at best, a ‘new’ church doesn’t seem to be indicated (Winston – town of around 6,000 has some 14 churches of varying denominations). Another ‘institution’ called church may not be a real help at this time – besides I feel way too old to wear skinny jeans and leave my shirt untucked…heck, I can’t even bring myself to wear jeans to Sunday worship!
Part of the discouragement (?) or depression (?) stems from a picture I saw yesterday of several men I have known who are in significant and influential places of ministry. I truly am glad for them, but then I look over the area I have influence in and, well, lets just say its limited in size and scope. I am 57 (didn’t I mention that already?) and facing a future that seems limited in scope and significance.
So, back to the challenge. Pastoring a small church with a big heart (and these people truly have a heart for the world around them) is challenging. How do I help them identify strategies that can penetrate the darkness? Of course we pray…and I am leading in a re-visioning of our prayer ministry on Wednesday nights and other opportunities. Of course we host evangelistic events – AWANA’s (Sept – May),VBS, WorldChangers (July) – and we have a visible presence at community events and we seek to share the gospel as often as possible. We have made substantial changes to our worship style and to our Bible study approach on Sunday morning. We are currently working with IMB personnel to engage an unreached people group in Asia (still praying for which group God is leading us to).
Maybe I just need to keep on keepin’ on! Maybe I just need to listen more closely to God’s direction and maybe I just need to relax and remember what I read in Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest this morning: Joy means the perfect fulfilment of that for which I was created and regenerated, not the successful doing of a thing. 
Thanks for reading! Thanks for praying!
 Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).