James commented two posts ago, Terry, I can't help but wonder if doing all these positive things caused some negative hearted people to leave your group, leaving behind more good hearted people who enjoyed and thrived in these activities? Or did everyone stay and find their relationships changed as they worked side by side rather than having face to face tension? Did cohesion come because you all forged a vision that included these activities and only those who shared the vision stayed? OR did cohesion come because carrying out the vision changed their hearts?
And then a Memorial elder responded, James Riley’s questions are interesting and thought provoking. Having passed through this time at Memorial I find myself occasionally musing in a similar vain. I can say I know of examples of each. My conclusion is it does not matter. God not mortal man is the source of such change. The answer to these questions matter as a means of measurement and/or comparisons that are not mine to control. Terry said, “I can't say exactly how God reversed our trend.” I think Terry would confirm one of the things He did was free us from worry over matters involved in answering these questions.
James, my answer to all of your questions is "yes".
James' questions are so on target and David's response equalled them. Our congregation went through extreme gyrations and victories and sweat boxes and celebrations! One week we would be eating candy bars and the next would be sour pickles. God had His hands full. I still can't figure what happened or how it worked.
But I know one thing I wasn't expecting happened. Much more changing had to go on in my head and heart than I would have ever guessed. I had no idea those holding back the work included me.