I’m thinking this week about the issue of energy in a spiritual ecosystem. Every ecosystem is dependent on energy. In nature the ultimate source is the Sun. That energy is converted by plants into food which some animals consume directly and others consume by consuming plant-eating plant animals. Animals die and decay; energy returns to the plants as soil. It’s the whole circle of life thing.
But what about energy in a congregation? (There will be no consuming of other members of your congregation in this metaphor!) Our ultimate source of energy is the Holy Spirit, but how does that energy get shared in the community of faith?
I think of at least three ways:
- Worship: As we gather to sing, pray, listen to Scripture, and proclaim our stories and The Story together, there can be palpable energy in the room. The Spirit prompts us to see our lives, our neighbors (also members of the ecosystem) and ministry in a different way and to respond in faith.
- Ministry: Although ministry takes energy, it also produces energy. When we are engaged in effective ministry we are energized by seeing God at work in others and ourselves.
- People: Sometimes it only takes one person “on fire” to set the whole community ablaze with energy. We have to discern between “flash in the pan” excitement and the indwelling of the Spirit, without quenching the Spirit in others.
So what are the specific sources of energy in your congregation, in worship, ministry and people? Is there room in worship for the Spirit to move and people to respond? Are opportunities for effective ministry provided or promoted? Are people with passion being allowed to explore possibilities? Is energy being converted to good spiritual food? What needs to die in order to nurture something new? Exploring these questions can energize your ministry!