Wednesday, November 4, 2009

THINGS THEY ARE A CHANGIN'


So a friend of mine, Rick, left his job last year to pursue a run for a state office. Things they are a changing.

My wife, Cheryl, came back from Fresno about the time Rick made his announcement.  She brought two pieces of memorobilia with her. One was the Fresno Bee, which heralded the retirement of GL Johnson, 49 years the pastor of Fresno’s first mega-church. She also brought the memorial bulletin for Marvin Hein, the pastor that married us, who was a friend, and who recently passed into glory at the age of 82.

While Cheryl was gone, another pastor friend, Larry, was here helping my leadership team and I envision a new future for our church. Larry retired from local church ministry about three years ago. Now he is helping churches get to health or decide on a different route. But even he is talking about slowing down.

Back to Rick for a moment – he’s not old. He just happened to be going through a change at the same time these other men are. Add to this that his own dad passed away not long ago. Things they are a changing.

When I look at all these things together, I sense nothing but change all around me. Part of it is the changing of the guard – the older generation is handing off their vision and duties to those who will pick them up. Those who pick them up will shape them by the vision they received.

The change is also within the generations. Church and faith are taking on new tones, new nuances. There is a definite change in the feel of the gathering of believers. I see that when I meet with my elders – I have a different way of thinking about church and even that way is changing. For the elders, they have a picture of what church is and new ways of thinking are hard to get their mind around. But things are still changing.

I guess I am working at defining this change and that is really not possible. Things are changing around us and in me. Maybe it is just the normal path of things – we get older, perspectives change and we get swept up in the change for a time. Eventually, things settle down or the change goes on without us because we step aside to let someone else handle it.

I do know the world is changing as these men who have influenced me and others step aside or pass on. Now the next generation needs to pick up the baton and move forward with it. It is our leg to run…our time is now.

I don’t know…but things they are a changing.