I will return to Baptist distinctives tomorrow. For a moment I want to comment on my current job. Four things about working at Valley have surprised me:
1. They do their homework.
The youth are learning 13 spiritual disciplines this Spring. I told the parents they should do the homework with their kids during the week…and they actually did it. Crazy right. Last week we talked about meditation and this week several of the kids showed up with journals they had created with their parents. I didn’t know what to do with myself. What a fantastic surprise!
We have a Thursday night ministry leaders team going right now. After our Thursday meeting I was a slacker and didn’t send out the homework. This Sunday I was grilled by a good number of group members. It is nice to have a team that is pushing me instead of the other way around.
2. They are willing to try anything (regardless of their age).
Maybe it is because I am still in my honeymoon period, but so far the people seem to be willing to try anything. One Sunday last month I even tossed out the sermon and did a large group activity instead. When I looked out at the congregation and told them to get up and find a partner, several people changed seats (no easy task when you are planted in pews).
3. They are surprisingly well read.
One 65+ year old man questioned me about Frank Viola’s “Pagan Christianity” last month. This week a 65+ year old woman gave me a copy of Francis Chan’s “Forgotten God” and raved about how much she loved it.
4. They understand the value of Sunday morning is not found in the activities but in experiencing the Spirit through one another.
Everyone says the same thing about Valley – it’s a family. When I first came I wondered what created the culture so I have been watching on Sunday mornings how the congregation behaves. They honestly love seeing one another. It is a cool thing. Very few people are there because they have to be. Most are there because it is where they meet up with their best friends. The foundation of community is solid and strong.
Because of these things (and a few others) I think the Holy Spirit is going to do something really cool there in the coming years. It is a privilege to be along for the ride.