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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And then the Spirit fell ...

I had read Adam Hamilton's book "Leading Beyond the Walls" as part of an evangelism class. I believe it was two or three years ago.

So it was that I was prepared for this afternoon's session at Holston Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C. I had even shared some of that book with the community of faith that worships at The Meadow, during worship as well as a Sunday morning small group that one of my congregants leads. I included some of the questions it raised, on behalf of the church as well as those we seek to reach:
  • Would it matter to the commuity if your church was not here?
  • What do you say to someone who asks, "Why do I need Jesus Christ?"
  • What do you say to someone who asks, "Why do I need the Church?"
  • What do you say to someone who asks, "Why do I need this church?"
Still, even though I was familiar with some of the material, there was much offered this afternoon that sent my head spinning with challenges and possibilities for the Green Meadow community of faith.

Tonight, his words concerning preaching and worship were even more thought-provoking and challenging, but they were also somewhat convicting -- to use some religious-speak. I thought it was just my normal tendencies toward self-flagellation for wanting to do more in terms of ministry but feeling constrained by time and my other full-time vocation. Still, he was teaching -- nay, preaching -- on what has long been my most favorite and most studied aspect of ministry: Worship. And it was as if I were a grade-schooler sitting at the feet of a teacher and learning for the first time.

Quite honestly, it was most disconcerting and nearly disturbing. I was asking myself, "This is not the first time I considered some of this. When did I forget these things? Have I been going through the motions on some Sundays?"

Hamilton turned it over to the Bishop and I followed the writer and preacher out to the book-signing table where I purchased a long-overdue Christmas gift for my brother-in-law, as well as a couple of books for myself before returning to the auditorium. Trinity UMC's praise band was already into the final worship set. I joined the rest of the congregation in a moving time of worship in music.

When it ended, we were all packing up to leave when Bishop Swanson stepped out in the Spirit, offering pastors the opportunity for prayerful reflection upon the teaching we had received before leaving Stuart Auditorium. He called Trinity's praise leader back to the keyboards and asked her to play softly as he made the invitation. One by one, an untold number of pastors moved to the front, some kneeling and others standing, possibily joined by some lay people. The Bishop prayed and -- believe me, I do not use this phrase lightly -- in my humble opinion the Holy Spirit fell.

It's hard to guess what was happening to others, but when I opened my eyes and moved out of the crowd it was obvious many were moved in one fashion or another. For me it was a powerful moment that I intend to reflect prayerfully upon for the remainder of tonight and likely for some time.

It may be a turning point in this ministry I am engaged in for the sake of Jesus Christ and the transformation of the community in which I serve.

At least, that is my prayer.

Will it be your prayer as well?

Grace ... and peace.