Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Did My Best

Today was a significant day, not just for me, but in the life of our church.  If you go to church with me, or read my ministry blog, you may know that I have served for the last two years on a Constitution and Bylaws Team at my church.  If you did not know that, well, the long and short of it is that I was elected in August of 2008 to serve on this team with three godly men of the church.  We were to review our existing governing documents--our Constitution and Bylaws--and suggest changes that needed to be made.  Churches have governing documents, just like corporations and other non-profit organizations.  The Constitution is a basic document that tells what the organization is called, what its purpose is, who its officers are, and how often it will meet.  The Bylaws tells how that organization will accomplish its purpose.  It's really very simple.  For our team, we determined that we would have a set of documents that were based on God's Word, the Bible.  Sounds easy enough, right?

Not really.  Churches, just like any other organization, are prone to conflict.  People are people, no matter what they believe in.  Christians should not have self-interests, but the sad fact of the matter is that we too often do.  I should not be materialistic, but I am sometimes.  I should not say curse words, but sometimes I do.  I take responsibility for my bad behavior, turn from it, and try to do better.  My dad has always told my brother and I to do our best.  You can never be ashamed if you do your very best.

So, I did my best during my tenure on the Bylaws Team.  We determined to have Bible study together.  We met weekly for two years.  Sometimes we met more often than that.  We always prayed.  We kept going.  It was not always easy.  For about six months, I didn't want to go.  Think about that:  For six months, I really didn't want to be there. But, I went anyway. I had been elected by my church, and I had committed to serve my church.  So, I went.  And I did my best. 

Forty days ago, the church was asked to review the documents we had drafted:  A new Constitution and Bylaws.  These documents proposed a new style of church governance; an elder led model.  We based our recommendation on Bible study.  Today, the church was asked to make a decision on our proposed documents.  We did not want a divided church, so we asked that it be a super-majority decision:  2/3 of the members would need to affirm the new documents. The church had been asked to fast and pray for the forty days leading up to the vote.

The closer it got to the vote, the more anxious that I became.  I know, I know.  We are not given a spirit of fear, you say.  But guess what?  I have feet of clay.  (Hmm.  I kind of have a little rap going there.)  I may seem audacious, but I do not like to see my brothers and sisters in the church behave badly.  It makes me ill.  Really ill.  So, this morning before church, I was ill.  And I was ill during the meeting.  My stomach didn't really settle until after the vote.  In all seriousness, I packed two plastic grocery bags in my purse because I did not want to soil the church carpet with my nervous stomach contents.  (I hope that's not too graphic for you.)

I'm ashamed of my frail self.  I don't like that I was so torqued up today.  And for those of you who go to church with me:  I'm so sorry that I worried you.  I had so many people hugging me, comforting me, rubbing my back.  Again, I'm sorry I worried you.  I'm writing tonight to reassure you.  I'm ok.

If you've hung in this long, I'll go ahead and finish my story.  We had the vote, and the new Constitution and Bylaws we proposed did not pass.  A lot of folks were stunned.  A small group whooped and hollered.  There were quite a few people who sought to comfort me.  I received calls, texts, and emails today from you.  Thank you to all of you who wanted to console me and to love on me.  I want you all to know that I am fine.  I love my church.  I did my best for you.  Mostly, I did my best for God.  Our church still belongs to Jesus.  That hasn't changed.  God did not abdicate His Throne today.  He wasn't surprised.  I was a little--ok, a lot.  But, God is good.  Are we?  No.  But that's ok.  God still loves us. 

Keep praying.  Keep studying God's Word.  No matter what our Constitution and Bylaws say, our church belongs to Jesus.  We are His Bride.  Love one another.  Forgive one another.  And when you do these things, do them to the best of your ability.  Don't make a half-hearted effort. 

I did my best.  The results were not my responsibility.  That was up to God.  Again, I thank you for your support and encouragement--you know who you are.

Many blessings,



  1. Amen - I so agree on God's sovereignty - though we may not understand, who are we? Who made the earth - commanded the waters where to go?
    We must trust in Him and seek His will for His glory - His will does accomplish - always. Thank you Jennifer for your devotion to Him. And thank you all the team

  2. Jennifer, you have nothing to be ashamed of, you and the team did what you were asked to do. The fact that it did not pass was not your fault. We are a congregational church, and it is apparent that God did not want it changed, at this time. As to the celebrating, when the vote was read, I'm sure if it had passed the celebrating would have been much louder, and longer. The main thing is God is still in control and we don not know what He has in store for the future. But, for now we need to focus on Him, and do as He wills. Praying for you, the team, the staff, and the church.