Today, Sunday, has been a red-letter day for the Kirk. The atmosphere this morning was electric. My guess is that attendance was around 1,500 to 1,600 worshippers. In each service there was applause in response to the actions taken last week; in two of the services, standing ovations. We pastors took this to be a response to the path ahead, not criticism of what we’ve left, nor given personally to us.
This afternoon we had an open house with people from the community coming through to see our facilities and, even more importantly, to meet Kirk people. Everyone who came was positive and excited about the possibility of coming to the Kirk. This is the best sign of what is to come.
Of course, the rumors abound. People with synod contacts have told us that the “big guns” from the denomination have us in their sights. Someone else in synod said that the denomination has identified 300+ Kirk members who are angry with what we’ve done and are ready to join with presbytery Monday night. If that’s true, it means that we have at least an 85% approval rating—I’d settle for that!
I took some time today to look through the picture directory and my printed directory. It is a good way to pray for the congregation. I began to consider who might be in that 300 and could only come up with 30 or so that I felt might truly, sincerely be opposed to what we have done. They’re all good people, and good people will disagree.
Of course, if the presbytery is calling through our list including inactive members, it might be a different story. Those who drop out do so for all kinds of reasons, some of them negative. They’re not a central part of who we are today, though.
Every year, a congregation our size removes a couple of hundred people from the rolls. Some move away, some pass away, some move to other churches within town, and others have been long enough on the inactive list, without any response to us, to be removed. At the same time we add enough people each year to keep our growth rate steady.
Whatever happens Monday will be a blip on the radar compared with what is about to happen in our future. My prayers are especially with those who feel hurt by what we’ve done. I pray that they will find a new church home immediately or find reconciliation here at the Kirk. I hope that the presbytery’s calling on long-gone members might move some of them back into active worship in some other church.
All that matters is that we be faithful to Jesus Christ. The Head of the Church is far greater than any tiff in Tulsa.
Keep praying—keep the faith,