Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What fills in the Gap?

   After the resurrection, Jesus led the disciples through a wonderful forty days of learning, worshiping and praying. The plans executed by the Romans and Jews left the first leaders of the early church in a gap they had never anticipated: preparing to carry out the mission of Jesus without Jesus around! 
   Gaps happen. Things don’t connect all the way, plans don’t work out, little spaces become larger ones. One thing does not always flow naturally into the next and a space occurs in between. Gaps happen. What matters is the ‘what’ that we use to fill in the gaps. 
   In February 2012, the leadership of Epworth presented to the congregation, a plan to purchase property, create access from Manchester Expressway, significantly improve our visibility in the community and expand our parking. Visibility and parking have long been two challenges before our congregation. This plan would address both and use money already in our possession that was designated for just such capital improvements. The church supported the plan with 87% of our membership in favor of it.
   Despite our best efforts, gaps have come up in the plan. The largest gap is the speed and ability of the sellers to obtain ‘clear title’ to the property we contracted with them to purchase in September of last year. They must go through a legal process (one we are told might take 8-12 weeks) involving public notification to any possible other owners before being in a position to sell. Our contract with them expired at the end of March. They have been in touch with us since then, but to date little progress has been made. We are being very cautious and I believe have acted as wise stewards throughout.
   Our church’s Building Committee has patiently waited and is readying to restart conversations around the ‘what next’ question that such gaps have created. The visibility and parking challenges remain. What other solutions address those? What is the best use of our saved resources? How many other areas of need could be addressed in the intervening time while this gap continues? What happens if the land becomes available next month or in six months?
   Gaps happen. The question before Epworth is what are we going to fill the gap with? My experience here is that leaders step in asking great questions, listening to the right people and leading in visionary directions. That needs to continue. I have a great deal of trust and appreciation for the leaders who have gone before us and those who are with us now. May we continue to fill in the gaps with a deep sense of God's leading that comes from listening and stepping out on faith.
   Grace and Peace, Scott

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