(In order to get a better understanding of what is to follow, I suggest that you read Pt 1 first)
At the conclusion of the report, Pastor Dean took several minutes to share with his people that he was in total agreement with the intervention report and prescription. He spoke words of love, hope and challenge. The congregation left to pray and meditate over the report, but they also left with hope of a new day!
Two weeks later I went back to lead an all-congregation Town Hall meeting. For two-and-a-half hours the report and the prescription were debated. Some took the opportunity to vent about things that had bothered them for years. We listened! We answered questions! I believe that all went away feeling that they had been heard and that their questions had been answered. Now we were prepared for the vote that was to be taken on April 3 following the morning service.
One of the strengths of the Borden consultations is that the congregation is allowed to develop ownership. It is not a top-down process; rather it is a grass roots, bottom-up event with ownership events built in along the way.
I attended the service at Ridge Road on April 3. People were upbeat. Optimism was in the air. Hope had arrived! The music was good, the message right on. At the close of the service, the vote was taken. This was the moment of truth. An unfavorable vote would not only throw Ridge Road into a tailspin, it would greatly hamper the momentum that we were developing with our District Transformation Project.
The vote was taken. Ballots counted. Results announced. Fifty-four were in favor; zero were opposed. A miracle had occurred! Never had anyone expected this. Ridge Road had not been united like this in years--decades. We all left with the understanding that God was at work. We were standing on holy ground.
There was still the spiritual disobedience part of the report that needed to be dealt with. How could we, as a body of Believers, cooperatively confess for wrongs/sins that had accumulated over the years. Was a public service of prayer and repentance feasible? What would a service like that look like? How would it be received?
The Ridge Road leadership team decided to take one more risk--to take one more step of obedience. A service of prayer and repentance was scheduled for April 10. A former pastor and his family that had been wronged were invited back. Following the scriptural patterns of old, this congregation was being invited to publicly and corporately face their sins.
To be continued... (Please don't stop before reading the next part)