Yesterday a praise band came up from Charlotte and provided some music for us during our worship service. They came from my last appointment. I had heard that they had started a praise band and I was looking at ways to bring some different music into our worship service, so I invited them up. I was this church’s associate for four years. We had some ups and some downs, we shared a four year history together.
At my present appointment we share a history too, only two years at the moment. As yesterday approached I became nervous about these two congregations (or at least parts of them) meeting one another. I wasn’t sure why but those nerves kept coming up. I felt like the in-laws were meeting for the first time or something. But then I found an analogy that worked better. People from one congregation meeting another one is like your high school friends meeting your college friends.
As United Methodist ministers you share your life with a congregation for a number of years and then you move to another congregation and share life with them. Each congregation is different and you as the pastor change as well. In my case the band that was coming up knew me as a Youth Minister/Associate in his late twenties. Here I am the minister in his early thirties. I have matured a lot since being 26 at my first Sunday and being 30 at my first Sunday here.
Now Sunday went fine and I was very comfortable preaching to these two groups (somehow that was what I was really nervous about). But like your friends in High School, they know you but they know who you were in High School. Your College friends know you, but they know you in college. As life goes on we grow and mature. When these friends meet it is interesting to see how life is different and how it has changed but also how it is all the same.