Touché May 16, 2014
Posted on May 16, 2014 by under Touché,

Re: Glimpses of Glory

“I have been to the mountain top and I have seen the Promised Land.” (Martin Luther King)

It is raining this morning on Hunter Mountain, but the fog is clearing on this process we call Ridder.  In a few hours our team from Hopewell will gather on the mountain.  Steve Shenkman, Ron Ruvo, Shurawl Sibbles, Colette Varanaouskas, Matt Feehan, KC Schuster, Mark Mast and I will be together.  Each time we meet the vision is clarified and the challenges deepen.

I know that many on the women’s retreat were exposed to some of the ideas of Ridder.  These are glimpses of the glory of going deeper than we ever have in the transformation process.  One of the complaints with the process has to do with the name “Ridder.”  Let me clear that up – Herm Ridder was a leader in the RCA (the Reformed Church in America).  When he died a fund was set up to train leaders in the RCA and those funds are part of what is being used to support this process.  Instead of calling it Ridder, we could call it: “A Personal and Congregational Journey in Transformation;” That would be long and cumbersome, but that is a description of what we are doing.  I think the meaning under the meaning of that complaint (Ridder language) may be that we would like a new program, or staff model, or better leader that will take us into the next season of ministry, and Ridder is asking us to take a look into our hearts.  It is not a “quick fix” process.

Our goal is not just to build a healthy church, but a healthy community that reflects the reign of God in our midst.  This is a radical shift for me in my church leadership.  I have always focused on the church and what we do inside these walls, and then sought to move outside of these walls to change the world.  The measure has always been the church, not the transformation of the world.  Ridder is asking for a radical shift.

Rodney Stark in his book “The Triumph of Christianity” talks about the early church going from a small persecuted band of believers to a movement that transformed the Roman world.  By the time of Constantine, Christianity had become such a force for good that evangelism happened as people experienced the difference Christianity made in their lives and in the world.  That is the glimpse of glory that is our vision.

The work is challenging and it is deep.  I don’t pretend that I will turn Ridder from a cuss word to a word of blessing in one Touché, but I want you to know that the fog is clearing and the glimpses of glory are coming.  Hang on with me and trust that God is doing something good in this process of personal and congregational transformation.

From the Mountain,                       Taylor