Many of you have taken note of the fact that the renovations of the hallways meant the removal of the old metal water coolers that hung on the walls. We had three of them and, from time to time, two of them would operate. In their places, we have installed a new-style water cooler that will offer fresh water.
What seemed like a simple purchase and solution has become more complex than you could imagine. First of all, I really thought we could do this in a way that saved the church in the long run by not using a water delivery service that would bring new jugs every couple of weeks. I've since learned that sometimes saving money leads to headaches, but that is another story for another week.
Our journey toward doing this ourselves started with the realization that no single company makes everything needed. No company makes the water cooler and cup holder, and no company seems to make either one to be compatible with the other. This week we discovered that the unit we had in our hallway was defective - it never turned on because it was accidentally built without an 'on' switch. To top it off, four calls into their Customer Service center have gotten us a different answer every time. It is funny and frustrating at the same time. We've finally been told they will ship us a new one. Their people are nice - but there has to be an easier way to get to the finish line of clean, fresh, affordable water in our hallway.
Which makes me think of the church. I wonder how our experiences with this company are similar to the experiences of visitors who've come to Epworth. How many people have come to our church looking for a simple, clear path to get connected, only to find it is not always that simple? How many of our members have longed for a way to serve but cannot get easy answers on where they are needed most? How many times have I wondered about the vast array of things that we offer people to learn, serve, and grow and how many of them actually lead to different destinations?
Matthew records in 7:13 Jesus saying, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it." I don't think discipleship is easy. I don't think following Jesus is supposed to be simple. It isn't. But, I do think we should help people connect and we should be clear in how people can be equipped to follow this path. Jesus is the way. The church is called to help people along the way. I am so excited to serve a church that wants to be intentional in making that happen.
Grace and Peace, Scott