From the Pastor
Last Saturday, nearly 40 of us gathered for our Congregational Visioning Event (there’s a picture on page 3 and lots more photos on our Facebook page). It was a great day, filled with good energy, important conversation, and plenty of holy moments. What emerged for me was a beautiful vision of who we are and who we are becoming.
Who we are…
We started off by listing words that describe our church: loving, accepting, welcoming, prophetic, respectful, thoughtful, unconditional, compassionate, intentional, just to name a few. That sounds like a church I’d like to go to. How about you?
Some participants at the retreat have been part of the church for 40 or more years. Others have been around for only a year or two, or less. As we talked about our church, I noticed how wisdom from both ends of the spectrum, and everywhere in between, was shared. New folks respected the tradition and history, and long-timers appreciated the ideas brought by newcomers.
We also named ways that our church has changed over the years, and I was struck by how willing our congregation is to try something new. That’s one of the things I appreciate most about this church: we are committed to being the kind of church we are called to be now, not the kind of church we were a year ago or a generation ago.
Who we are becoming…
In the course of our conversations, four themes kept emerging, and it soon became clear that as a congregation, we are called to:
engage with our community—both in hands-on service with our mission partners, but also connecting with people and spreading the word about First Christian.
embrace diversity—to recognize and appreciate the differences among us, and to make room for all.
nurture our spiritual lives—faith formation isn’t just for kids; all of us are called to grow, learn, and connect.
worship—in such a way that our worship reflects and supports the rest of our congregational life.
We noted that none of these four areas stands alone; all are intertwined. And all are grounded by our ability to adapt and change, and by the love we have for one another and for God.
A few questions are on my mind as I think about all this. Regarding our Sunday morning worship: does our service reflect the diversity of people who sit in our pews? Are we providing ways for people of various ages, stages, and needs to enter into the presence of God? Regarding our leadership structures: are we making it possible for new people to step into leadership? Are there ways in which our structures get in the way of our vision?
And finally, now what? What are our next steps as we live more deeply into this vision of a congregation that engages our community, embraces diversity, nurtures our spiritual lives, and worships together with intentionality?
I’d love to hear from you. Where do you see us already living out this vision? What could we do better or differently? Is there anything we’re doing now that doesn’t really line up with this vision, and maybe it’s time to leave it behind?
Thanks to all of you who participated last weekend, and to all of you, for becoming the church you are called to be.