6 Oct
I’ve been at Red Oak Grove for officially a month.  I started with my first day in the office on September 6 and have been through emotions, introductions and lots of firsts.  There is much to be excited about here in the grove but, of the story I’m about to tell, much of this has primarily been focused here in my last week.
In the October newsletter and last week in the bulletin, I introduced a new approach to moving forward together in ministry.  Well, new to me and the congregation – not new to ministry or the greater church.  I propose that we meet in small groups – ideally no more than 12 people – in people’s homes for coffee, treats, and conversation.
These cottage meetings – spoken of highly in many my seminary courses – are safe places for members to speak about what’s exciting in the church, where the strengths of the congregation lie, and where they hope to be in the next ten, twenty, and 150 years.  I proposed these cottage meetings first to the council and I was met with … hesitancy.  They weren’t sure and were reluctant to give me a substantial go ahead.  
I struggle with the idea that I’m the sole pastor and have some sort of power.  I hate to even call it that – power – but ultimately, I’m in the place to make such decisions.  [Just like I’m in the place to buy Bibles for our three year olds … but just can’t get myself to spend the money without running it by someone else first.  That’s what I’m used to!]  And so I made the decision.  I was going to throw the idea of cottage meetings out to the congregation and see what happened.
In this last week, I’ve had three people contact me and tell me that they are willing to host a conversation! Yessss!  Three people plus another one at the parsonage [I’ll have to borrow folding chairs from the church!] and another potentially in the church fellowship hall, and there we have five possible meetings.  By golly gee, people seem to be on board.  This is exciting – super exciting!  I know these meetings will be invaluable to moving forward in ministry.
The next step is to put up sign up sheets so people can choose a cottage meeting that fits their schedule best.  From there, we meet, we talk, and we dream about the ministry at ROG.  I feel strongly that ROG has great gifts and is ready to move forward in ministry, trying new and innovative things to reach and draw people.  [They’re ready for new and exciting – they did just call their first ever female pastor!]  It’s an exciting time, and I’m excited to be their pastor.  

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