Last week we started the next round of Bible Information Class, the usual gateway into membership for our church. I use a program that’s designed to run thirteen sessions, making it long enough to be a commitment but hopefully not so long as to cause a problem. As per usual, I had several people express solid interest.
Tuesday night… three people show. All of them already members.
Sigh. We’ve been through this before, you know. Oddly enough, I didn’t get too down. I asked the three if they’d be willing to skip this week; I’d reapproach those who had expressed interest, and next week we’d try again and if it was just these three, we’d just move forward.
…I’m now scheduled to teach three separate sessions this coming week.
A young woman who wanted to come has family stuff starting right when the class was intended to start. Can I meet at a separate time? First off, I know this young woman’s family – she’s not making an excuse. (Or if she is, it’s an excuse backed up by fact. Her mom does stuff like this.) Well, OK. So I’m meeting separately with her. Oh, and she’s bringing three friends with her now. So instead of one young woman in the evening for the sessions, I’ve got four teens coming in the afternoon. Get the feeling God’s laughing?
One gentleman who’d expressed interest in coming… his work schedule is erratic. He works a manual labor job where you work until you’re done, which means he really can’t commit to anything regularly in the evening. What do you know? He approached me today in church and asked if we could meet in the mornings.
Oh, and three more non-members have approached and asked if it was too late to join the evening sessions.
So, this week we start a triple-whammy of Bible Information Classes. During Lent. Oh, also during a pretty rigorous all-member-visit.
Which means God is blessing me and laughing at me and handing more people saying, “Hey. These are people I’ve chosen. Teach them about Jesus. Teach and baptize and show them what I’ve done for them.” And that always happens in God’s timing – it certainly doesn’t happen in mine!
It also means I’m going to need wisdom in balancing all my responsibilities. Thankfully I’ve got a wife who both understands my duties – both as a pastor and as a husband and father. She’s not above taking out the rolling pin and beaning me across the head if she needs to. And sometimes I need that.
Not everything is sunny and cheery here, of course. We’ve still got one man very angry for me standing on God’s Word. (Oh, and he’s being petulant, too! Joy!) Some people are really resisting the every-member-visit and I’m concerned what the ramifications may be. I suspect I’ll be posting more on that as it develops, but in short the every-member-visit will include some parts on God’s Word being the only guide for life and faith. I have a suspicion that’s going to rub some people the wrong way. (For those who are WELS reading this, our congregation is not using the Synod materials for reasons specific to our congregation.) We recently closed our child care and are once again floundering for identity.
Yet, even in these problems, even in these struggles, God laughs and brings his people to him. He gathers his own, no matter where they are.
And if he uses me to do it? How awesome is that?