I am back in Anderson; and that means that "normal life" will be interspersed with my dog updates. "Normal life" means Hebrew posts, ministry posts, theology posts, blindness advocacy posts, cat posts, health posts, book reviews, and whatever else sounds good on that day...
Quite a number of years ago, my church purchased a large plot of land on the south side of town and named it Madison Park. The intention has always been to build on it and that "North would go south." The plans are quite fascinating. There will apparently eventually be a community with various businesses operated by the church on the land. It is a fascinating idea--and it is very evident that North is becoming a "megachurch." This is, of course, controversial. Following is my post to the Church of God email list on the subject of the change from North Anderson Church of God to Madison Park Church of God.
North Anderson to Madison Park... My opinion on it is that if the church is going to move, it does need a name change. It would not really do to have North Anderson on the opposite side of town; and the property has been known as Madison Park for many years. As for the move itself, it is an exciting thing as well as a controversial thing. My own reactions are tempered quite a bit by my fears of the size of the building and the effect of the open space on my ability to move around it independently--I think that it is vital for a blind person to be able to move around his/her church just as he/she would move around any other place in the community. This is quite egocentric of me; but it's where I am right now.
There are some general things that concern me; but I have not figured out how to put them into words or what they mean for my thoughts about ministry in general or, more specifically, my life much farther down the road. I will try to share them as I am able to formulate them. I, of course, do not want to cast a negative light on what is happening at MP. It may not turn out to be the best environment for me; but if there is one thing I am learning it is that we are all different and what is a negative experience for one person could be a very positive experience for another. I treat MP as a learning experience for myself and an opportunity to formulate my thoughts about various aspects of "megachurch" ministry. It is a useful opportunity and one that I hope other people will benefit from.
There are some significant hurdles to my continued worship there which I am discussing with the pastoral staff. The greatest, as usual, is transportation. The new building is outside Anderson city limits; and this means that to my knowledge Anderson's transit system will never go there. I could not use CATS most of the time for church activities anyway because of the poor CATS hours; but this limits me further. At this point, my reliable transportation comes from my parents. This is not a workable solution for an active adult in mid-life; and it is something we need badly to address--not only for me but for others who face transportation barriers as well.