Back What’s Next?

heck out what board member, Sheila Anderson, had to say in her Spiel article from the bulletin last week:

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”  Isaiah 40:8

As the world has been radically upended the past 16 months, many of us felt the disorientation of wondering what was coming next. Although conditions are still shifting, we are grateful to be slowly regaining a sense of normal.  One thing is certain, though: our God does not change.  And the mission He’s given us remains the same: to connect people to life in Jesus. Our vision is one church with each believer following Jesus wherever they are, and having an impact there for God’s Kingdom. To visualize this potential, the Church invites us to become “wells” – a physical presence scattered out in the world where God’s water of life can be accessed by thirsty wanderers.

The leadership board is excited to share some of staff’s plans for this summer and fall to help us  become more “well-like”. We welcome your ideas and thoughts! You can email us at [email protected], talk to any board or staff member or include your ideas on the worship connection card.

1. Back to Community initiative:  God designed us for connection and belonging. The social restrictions of the past year have highlighted our need for each other while at the same time making our habitual ways of connecting more difficult. It’s hard to be a useful well if no one knows you’re there! Moving forward, how can we engage others, both inside and outside our church, in the most meaningful way?  (Pause here for full disclosure: this initiative makes me a little anxious.  I’m not sure how much community engagement I want to add to my life right now. If, like me, you felt a pang of avoidance, anxiety, or irritation when you read those words ‘back to community” I urge you to go to 4.)

2.  Website redesign: As we’re seeking this connection, our website has become our front door for those who want to learn more about our community as well as a continuing resource for those who’ve been here awhile.  How can we make it better?  Perhaps a virtual walk into our building to see what happens here and who we are. A site to display our version of a life of mission and ministry.  Wouldn’t it be great to include resources to help with real life problems? as well as practical details (how, where, when) and links to share with friends?  What are your ideas?  Church Marketing, the group that helps with our online outreach, will be working with us on the upgrade.

3.  Here and there – Hybrid strategy: As we’ve discovered over the past year, we don’t have to be in person to be the Church. Our goal is to foster community wherever you are, however we can. Redesigning our website will make it easier for people to walk through our “front door”, so to speak, whether virtual or actual.  Once inside together, as one body of both virtual and face-to-face participants, how best to continue on-line and in-person hybrid meeting for worship, lifeGroups, Kid’s Connection and Higher Ground?

4.  Making space for margin in your life: living in simplicity:  Rest – isn’t that what we long for? Rest from worry, stress, need, and hurry.  God calls us to rest in Him.  As challenging as the last year has been, the slower pace and pruning of activities has been an unexpected pool of refreshment for many. Just as God led the Israelites through the desert where choices were simplified, He has led us through the past 15 months. As they were emerging from the desert into the promised land, He urged His people to choose life, to choose to love and cling to Him (Deut. 30:19). He honors us by giving us that choice as well: to plan and develop a way of life that allows plenty of time with Jesus to allow Him to fill our wells and speak into our lives. When we are full of Him, living water will spill out of our lives to refresh others. How can we choose to build space into our lives for the most meaningful things and relationships?  Now is the time to be intentional about that choice. God doesn’t expect you to be a well for everyone. That, in fact, is impossible. He knows your limits; He designed them.  He may be calling you to engage fully with just one person. In order to do that, saying “no” (even to good activities or worthy people) is following where Jesus leads.  How can the Church help us all build this discipline?  How can we empower “the sacred no” in each other’s lives?

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