Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Near Death Experiance

The patient was obviously on her deathbed. Three weeks ago everyone came for a last visit before she passed on. Last week was to be the wake (usually called visitation in these parts), and the funeral would be today. But something unexpected happened on that deathbed. The patient showed a tiny spark more life left in her than anyone had expected. Even though there was at least one person present that seemed willing to administer a lethal injection, in the end it was decided that it would be prudent to put the patient on life support for two weeks to see if she had any real hope of recovery.

During those two weeks of life support, things looked hopeless. I readily admit that a week into that life support my wife and I had given up hope and accepted the fact that the patient would be lost and should be allowed to die with dignity.

As of last Sunday, it looked as though the funeral would be today after all. But mid week, all of that changed. The patient is still very weak, and there is no assurance that she will survive to live to a ripe old age, but there is a great hope that is evident in her that had been missing before.

Of course the "patient" that I have been describing is our own beloved Valley View Baptist Church. Two weeks ago we were to vote on closing, being without a pastor and down to 21 members (or less), However, there were enough members at that meeting who were not quite willing to close just yet. The vote was put off for two weeks until after the yearly meeting of the Minnesota LaCrosse Association of the North American Baptist Conference, in the hopes that member churches could offer some guidance.

Despite the prayers and offers of support from the member churches in the association, Jane and I came to the conclusion (based primarily on being better informed) that perhaps it was for the best that Valley View Baptist close its doors.

But all that has changed now. Dennis Ingolfsland, one of our members, has volunteered to take over as our pastor on a part time basis. Dennis, beside being a professor at a nearby Christian college, has often preached for us when our former pastor was out of town. I am confident that the entire membership at Valley View is delighted at this turn of events. Best of all, I believe that the membership is going into this with the realization that we will all need to be involved in regaining the health of Valley View Baptist. I don't think any of us have any illusions of growing into a large church; in fact I am not sure we really even want to. But we do wish to restore the church to the point where it can survive as a God honoring body of Christ were the gospel is preached!

Please continue to pray for us.

1 comment:

Joe Blackmon said...


I don't know if you've ever read Les Puryear's blog. He is a small church psstor and writes some really encouraging stuff that applies directly to people in situations such as you've described. I don't remember the name of the website but I bet you could Google him if you're interested. I pastored a church with a average Sunday Morning attendance of less than 20 for 6 years. I never really saw much numerical growth but I saw people mature spiritually due to their interest in studying their Bible. It's not how big y'all grow but how deep. We're praying for y'all.