Thursday, August 11, 2005

Hard Life

I came across an arresting comment recently as I perused a ministry magazine while Angela watched a television drama and I pretended to be too intellectual for that while actually watching the drama out of the corner of my eye. She is very patient with this little pretense of mine and I am beginning to suspect that she reads my magazines out of the corner of her eye. Yes, things can get pretty zany at the Soper house.

At any rate, in this article a preacher commented that his members had such “hard lives” that they needed the church to be a welcoming place with a friendly atmosphere. The reason I noted this comment (during a commercial break) is because his congregation is in a very nice, middle-class suburb outside of a large city. Certainly when you think historically and globally of what constitutes “hard life” these peoples’ circumstances do not come to mind.

And yet I understand exactly what he is saying.

He is referring to the increasing difficulty of balancing work, marriage, parenting, and leisure in a society which seems to demand more and more of our energy to hold it all together. To be sure, many of us should simplify and slow down, but the fact remains that if you are a single person in a relationship, married, or a parent raising children, well, you’re not usually cruising down the road of life with nary a care in the world. There is immense stress on marriages and families because of a myriad of factors, not all of which we can control.

As we prepared to relocate to our new campus and begin a new chapter in the West Houston story, the elders and I talked about how we could more effectively come alongside people facing the various challenges inherent in relationships, marriage, and parenting. Indeed, not just come alongside them in a crisis but equip them with helpful tools for thriving. Relationships, marriage, and parenting are beautiful and rewarding life experiences; they are also hard work and many people find themselves broken down on the side of the road, or limping along at 15 m.p.h. on the shoulder with a malfunctioning AC and no radio (forgive the analogy; it was the one that came most immediately to mind in August in Houston).

Starting this fall we are committed to offering mid-week classes and occasional seminars and special presentations to help encourage and equip people for the various challenges of relationships, marriage and parenting. For instance, on November 5 Ron Deal, a nationally known expert on step-families, will give a seminar at WHCC on the challenges of blended family life. On Wednesday evenings starting September 14, we will offer a class on parenting called “Raiders of the Lost Art… of Parenting” and a class on marriage called “Marriage Matters.” Our intention is to offer practical and biblical resources and events to provide WHCC members and, just as importantly, people in our community with tools and teaching to have strong and rewarding family lives.

Reason #149 why I look forward with great anticipation to West Houston’s future on our new campus. – Matt Soper


Post a Comment

<< Home