The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

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Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Taking time to consider the path

I have a difficult time shutting down.

Earlier in my journalism career, I couldn't go out of town on vacation without picking up copies of out-of-town newspapers and watching broadcast news. I changed that habit sometime in the mid-1990s because it seemed I was always wondering, "Did we play that story correctly back in Maryville? Did we miss it entirely?" In short, I wasn't shutting down work; therefore, I wasn't truly on vacation. I wasn't taking a sabbath. So, nowadays, I try not to engage in the news while on vacation or sabbath.

My first vacation following the entry into pastoral ministry was sort of that way as well. We went to Folley Beach, South Carolina, and I spent the greater part of vacation preparing worship experiences. I was totally out of balance.

Since coming to The Meadow in April 2002, I have pretty much held it in balance when it comes to my time away; however, the church is never far from my mind. So at some point I find myself walking the beach and praying, "Lord, where is it you want us to go? What can I do at Green Meadow to help us become the church you have called us to be? Where do we go next?"

I do not see that as a failure to shut down, but to come out of my time away with a clearer vision and plan to move this ministry forward for Christ. The reality is this: I can not shut down who I am as your pastor, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, nor do I want to shut it down.

I'm not doing grunt work while I am a way, it's Spirit work.

A few weeks ago I asked that you be in prayer this summer for where God wants us to go next. I think God has given me the vision for where he wants me to lead next, but I want you to continue in prayer with me that God would sharpen that vision.

This morning, I read the following from The Call 2, the online version of the Holston Conference's newspaper. Here's a short URL to reach it: The Bishop recounts a portion from Madeleine Albright's book that deals with the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and a call that Tom Burnett made from Flight 93. Burnett said, "I know we're going to die, but some of us are going to do something about it." When I read the following, this vision of where to lead next took a bit of shape:

Since that awful morning, the memory of their heroism has inspired us. It should also instruct us. The reason is that when you think about it, “I know we’re going to die,” is a wholly unremarkable statement. Each of us could on any day say the same. It is Burnett’s next words that were both matter-of-fact and electrifying.“Some of us are going to do something about it.”

In focusing on mission and being open to doing church in a different way, we have moved beyond the mentality of a small church looking to merely survive. Nor are we in the mode of asking the district superintendent to "just leave us alone and let us die in peace." (Believe it or not, a former district superintendent shared the latter experience of having been told that by a church's leadership.)

Some churches have taken the attitude of, "I know we're going to die. Just leave us alone and let us die in peace." Ever since coming to The Meadow, the Spirit has been moving us ... and I believe we have been following. In finding creative ways to be in mission, we have taken what is the road less traveled by a church with 20 to 25 on an average Sunday worship.

I believe God has presented us with another point in our journey where the paths diverge. Pray with me that our path is made clear. It may again emerge as the road less traveled. If so, we can again trust that the power of God's Holy Spirit will propel us and sustain us along way.

Grace, peace and love ...



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