Slow: A Covenant Story

boats_7162669_smTrying to rush something at Covenant Baptist Church is like trying to sprint in waist-deep water. It doesn’t work. Every time we think about cranking it up, some invisible force slows us.

Here’s the thing: slow is good for us. Slow is wise. Slow is the way ego passes away and divine mystery takes the reigns.

Recently our volunteer church treasurer was resigning and we needed another one. If you had asked me, I would have said this is the least spiritual problem a church could have. Leave me to my praying and preaching and pastoring, please—spreadsheets and budget sheets clearly do not belong in the realm of God and I would rather not be bothered with them.

The new treasurer search went on for months, maybe nine total, which wasn’t surprising given our Covenant pace, but eventually it almost felt like a pressing practical matter. We rarely allow anything to feel pressing, but, you know, bills. We spun our wheels a little to no avail. I pushed gently on a few doors—none of them opened.

One Sunday I preached a sermon on loving your neighbor. After church I got an email from Wes. He began by explaining how when he and his wife came to Covenant so many years ago, it was a temporary church move, and they didn’t plan to stay.

“Oh no,” I thought. “He’s about to tell me they’re leaving.” I felt a pain in my heart.

Wes went on to say that my sermon that day had really spoken to him and they realized Covenant was their home.

“Oh! How lovely!” I grinned in surprise.

Furthermore, he’d like to volunteer to be the new treasurer. My mouth gaped open. I never dreamed my love-your-neighbor sermon would inspire someone to be the church treasurer.

Except for when we’re totally frustrated at how long a thing takes to happen, at Covenant we are mostly proud of our slow pace. It is even advertised right there on our church website, “We are not in a hurry.”

But truth be told, half the time we’re not trying to be slow. We just don’t know what to do or where the answer is going to come from. Something about not rushing to a solution though . . . something about the refusal to rush opens up this mysterious space in which the unexpected can happen. We see God move quite a lot actually, when I think about it. When we are willing to see God in money matters and minutia, when we’re willing to set down the reigns and stop strategizing, when we halt the nervous energy and listen for as long as it takes, we catch these glimpses of God-at-work in places we didn’t even think to look.

Rothaus_pic_bench_smKyndall Rae Rothaus is pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. She graduated with her Master of Divinity from George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor. She blogs Here and her sermons can be read or listened to Here. Her first book Preacher Breath is being published by Smyth & Helwys later this year.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email