Over the past year, our church has been involved in a Spiritual Strategic Journey (SSJ for short). This is a somewhat esoteric name for something that has actually been a very active and inclusive process as we seek, through conversation, relationship, and prayer, to determine where God is calling us as a church.
I have to admit, that I was a bit skeptical about this whole thing at the beginning. There were buzzwords and meetings and surveys and focus groups and consultants. All those things that you're "supposed" to have. But, come on. We've all been part of things that had all the "right" words and processes and everything, but failed to actually produce anything or make a difference.
But something happened along the way. Somewhere in this process, my skepticism started to melt. It started to warm a little a bit with our very first church-wide meeting when 190 people gave up their Friday night to have dinner and talk church. It got even meltier when over 200 people formed triplets, crossing barriers of age, gender, class, and even (*gasp*) worship service - and not only formed triplets, but actually stuck with them - meeting 10 times each over the course of 3 months. Then another church-wide meeting with even more people. But the real honest-to-goodness complete thaw came on August 16 when over 300 people from all three of our worshiping congregations stuck around for 2 hours after church and proclaimed with a clear voice that they heard God calling us to be a missional church.
Now the word "mission" is a bit tricky. It has negative connotations for many who think of mission as focused on evangelism, conversion, or telling people why they're wrong and we're right. But the mission we have heard God calling us to is the mission to share God's love, to be connected - with each other and with God, but also with our community and the world. We have gifts that we can use to show God's love in the world. And when we focus on those gifts, rather than on our needs and shortcomings, we have the potential to change the world.
So it happened - I'm all in. I'm a true believer. I truly feel that we can live God's call in a way that honors God, but also honors us - who we are, where we are, what our gifts are, what our future holds. This vision has captured me - head, heart, and hands. And I am so excited to worship together on Sunday as we get a small glimpse of what our future might look like. I really hope you'll be there in the Sanctuary at 11 am (actually, I really hope you'll be on the front porch for coffee and donuts at 10:30, first).
What will it take for you to be all in?