I can’t do it. I’m not sure if any of you can do it. We know that there are somethings that will happen in the future. I know that the sun will rise (even if it’s hidden behind some clouds). I know that the snow will come in winter and mosquitoes will be part of the summer experience. I know our dog will chase our cats (because that’s what she always does). I know that the church has a future. I just don’t know how to predict what that future will be.
That said, I also know we are called to be engaged in the direction our church is going. I know we are called to listen to the Holy Spirit as it whispers to us (sometimes more loudly than others) and invites us into future possibilities. I see several signs that we are listening to some of those whisperings and that listening has turned into action and that action is shaping our future:
- Resources (aka money) Although we still have many pledges yet to come in, I see that there are some increases and some new pledges. We seem to be excited about the direction the church is headed. We can’t see exactly what the future will hold but we are willing to invest in it.
- Kids, kids, kids! What better prediction for a hopeful future than children and youth in our midst. We can’t see right now what they’ll become, yet we’re willing to lay some faith-filled foundation for them.
- Love, love, love! Yes, we are living into Christ’s commandment that we love God and neighbor. (Did you know that love looks an awful lot like a whole bunch of baked potatoes and all the fixings set out for the hard-working teachers at West Elementary School for parent-teacher conferences?)
- “Butts in the Pews” (aka “Presence”). Without this happening now, there will be no “later.”
- Courage and openness to explore and imagine. (This is what I really want to talk about.)
Earlier this week, our church council met with the leadership equivalent of Christ United Methodist Church about the possibility of engaging in a deeper relationship of shared ministry with them. As I mentioned last week, no decisions were made other than to continue the conversation. There were LOTS of questions, some that could be answered, some that will be kept until later. There was a mixture of emotions across a broad spectrum from excitement to apprehension and all kinds of variations of everything in between. The conversation was informative and honest.
At their November meeting, our Council will identify a couple of people to work with two folks from Christ UMC to develop some talking points to be shared with the membership of each congregation. Then, we’ll have a season of informal listening to you. I don’t know how that listening will happen. I don’t know if it will be a survey or organized listening sessions or individual conversations. That’s a part of the future that we can’t see just yet. It will come into focus and some point and we’ll get the word out.
In the meantime, I could use your help.
Be part of the life of your church. The Holy Spirit is making things happen in our midst, there is no doubt. But, that HS needs people to inspire and empower. You are those people. Pray. Early and often. Nothing elaborate. Just sincere. For the church, its leaders, the future, and your roll in it.
Have courage, seek creativity, live with joy and humor and hope.
I predict that our future will be God-blessed. Have a blessed week. Stay warm and be safe.