As I hope you’ve heard, our church’s milestone (goal) for the next year is to “experience a significant increase in contagious joy, because we will be able to identify 100 people who are re-examining missional living as they practice and experiment with what it means for them to live missionally.” If you have questions about this, please feel free to talk with me or another staff member. I’m excited about this goal because it highlights that God designed us to experience great joy in our lives. We’re made in God’s image. We are sacred, beloved, free to love others because of Christ’s sacrificial, unconditional love. How could we not have joy-filled lives?!
Well, we all know there’s plenty in our world (and in ourselves) that can set obstacles in the way of joy. Every day, I struggle with my thoughts and reactions — worries, a short temper, unkind words, holding on to resentment, etc. — that too often strip joy out of my life. I recognize that some thoughts and reactions are easier to control than others, and that some of us may even experience physiological obstacles to the ability to choose how we respond in certain situations, and I don’t want to minimize that. However, I also know that God has equipped each of us with the capacity to choose joy.
It’s understandable that when we’re faced with changes to the status quo (how we’re used to things being/going), we may face difficulties and have trouble choosing joy. One such change at the Church is that this month Pastor Jeff and Amy Meyer are beginning a six-month sabbatical (November 2016 – April 2017). My hope and prayer for Pastor Jeff and Amy is that they experience great joy during this time, and my hope for each of us individually and corporately as a church is that we will choose joy, that we will live in joyful relationships with our family, friends, coworkers, and other neighbors, reflecting Jesus’ love. I further pray that when we struggle in this capacity, we will share our struggle with a trusted friend, and with Jesus, whose love is perfect and heals perfectly. I love you, church, and am thankful that so many of my life’s joyful moments are with you!
The Lord your God will change your heart so that you will love him with all your heart and so you may live! Deuteronomy 30:6
If you’d like a copy of the documents detailing the sabbatical, please email me or stop by my office. Here are some key pieces of structure / contact information:
- Leadership: Youth Director Emily Powers is serving as Interim Executive Leader; Head Movement Elder Brian Hayman is serving as co-leader with Emily (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Worship / Preaching: Pastor Matt Wipperman and several guest preachers are leading worship services during the sabbatical (email@example.com).
- Congregation: Please direct questions and concerns to staff and board members as needed (Staff Coordinator Elsa Gumm – firstname.lastname@example.org; Board President Peter Huebner – email@example.com), seek pastoral care from Pastor Matt Wipperman and Pastor Mike Peters (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com), and consider prayerfully how you may serve and lead in the church.
- Learning: Two Connections classes offered during this time period are an opportunity for new and existing members to learn about the identity and structure of the Church. Click here for more info on Connections.