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My friend Kathy was coming to my home for supper. She was greeted by my six-year-old daughter who said, “I’m so glad you are here. We have been cleaning all day!” Kathy responded, “You cleaned? You shouldn’t have done that. You could have spent that time baking!”

We laughed and noted that we knew each other well enough for us to let her see how we really lived. If our house were in a more typical not-ready-for-company state, she would still enjoy being with us. We could have Kathy over without fear of being judged for our tidiness. We only do that with people we trust.

As a coach, I am invited into a church before they’ve had a chance to clean up. People talk and show me the places or programs they are not proud of. They let me walk with them through messes, areas where people disagree. It is a real privilege to be there in these awkward times where we as people of God are able to wrestle with an issue and see what God has in store for us. 

So, when I go to a church I’m tempted to say, “Please don’t clean up for me! It is by seeing how you really live that I will get to know you.” I might, however, suggest that baking would be appreciated.

Faith Formation Ministries provides congregational faith formation leaders the opportunity to meet in-person or connect digitally or by phone with members of our team and other ministry leaders for coaching and support. Whether it’s a one-time, one-on-one conversation or a long-term peer group, we are here to help. For more information about our regional catalyzer, visit!

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