My friend, Lagean, had asked me to be a part of a new initiative she is starting at our church. I had pulled back from my involvement in church activities over the last couple of years. I was pretty burned out. For a long time, I worked with the kids and I felt like I was by myself in the effort (much of that may have been my own fault). As I mentioned in an earlier blog, our church struggled for a while. Our membership numbers dwindled. But Lagean hung on. She believed in our small church. She believed in what it offered people. She never quit.
Lagean hasn't always been where she is now in her spiritual journey. She will tell you that she has made some mistakes. Yet as our church struggled, Lagean stayed dedicated. She recruited people. She grew herself spiritually and she grew our church. And now she wants to get someething started for our teenagers.
When she asked me, my inside reaction was, "Ugh!" I told her that I would help, but I also told her the only reason I agreed to do it was because of her. Her perserverance, dedication, and friendship inspires me and makes it very difficult to say no.
I ended up having a work-related meeting scheduled at the same time. I thought I had conveniently gotten out of my responsibilities with Lagean. Then my meeting was cancelled. I couldn't lie to Lagean so I called her and told her I would be there. Her excitement and joy, simply because I was going to be present, made me feel special. But, then again, Lagean always makes me feel loved, appreciated, and needed.
Although the meeting started 30 minutes late (that usually bothers me), I enjoyed being in the company of some women leaders whom Lagean had chosen. She had taken the time to include a variety of ages, ethnicities, stages in life, stages in Christianity--and had already decided before we arrived what our roles would be according to our skills and talents. Lagean organized our initial meeting but, moving forward, she asked us all to make the decisions together.
Although I've worked in a leadership capacity and worked with kids and teens for the last 11 years, I could've never pulled that meeting together like Lagean did. I guess a lot of it is her dedication to people that makes us all willing to come out and help. It's her ability to see our assets and what each of us has to offer, instead of focusing on our deficits and what each of us still needs to work on--emotionally, spiritually, etc. Her approach seems the perfect way to build a church--draw on people's strengths and, in the meantime, help them develop beyond their weaknesses.
Since this is our first meeting, I'm not sure how the teen meetings will turn out. But from the meeting yesterday, I have a feeling that the teenagers might not be the only ones growing and learning from this ordeal. I have a feeling that in the process Lagean might be unknowingly (or maybe she has this already planned! :) ) building a strong women's group as well.
I truly am blessed to have a friend like Lagean.