A Pastoral Word
Many of you have asked about my DMin program. It is hard to believe I began this journey a year ago! As of right now, I have completed four of my five core classes and am enrolled in the fifth core class. This class will be for January and February and deals with adaptive change in congregations.
If that language of adaptive change sounds familiar, it is because that is exactly what we talked about during our experience with Surfing the Edge. It is the understanding that what we've been doing isn't working anymore and it is time to adapt to our new environment. It isn't just a matter of tweaking here or there. It is a matter of a different way of thinking, of viewing a solution.
This approach seems pretty appropriate for the new year because we don't know what the new year holds for us. Sometimes we know the best we can do is to take things a step at a time and figure out things as we go.
I also know that when the word "change" gets thrown around, it can be pretty scary. Believe me, I know. There are days that I wish everything would stay the same, stay familiar, stay, dare I say it, comfortable, but I know that is not real life. That type of existence is just something that I have invented or created to fool myself into thinking I have control over the details of my life. Two children have taught me that isn't possible.
As I look forward to my class, I can't help but think that even though the word "change" can be scary it also reminds me that with each change, God is there in the process. God was there in the beginning. God is here now. And God will be there for us no matter what comes our way, just like God has always been for the people of God.
As a congregation, we have done some tweaking to things over the years to help us live out our mission of WELCOME more completely, but now is the time for us to do some adaptive changes as well. We can't just expect people to come through our doors and discover us. We need to figure out how to do things differently. You see the problem isn't that people aren't going to church anymore. And the problem isn't that people have given up on God. The problem is that the Church has not figured how to be the Body of Christ in this changing world beyond its typical structures.
The good news is that the Gospel is still very much alive and still has the power to transform lives. We just need to figure out a way to share the Gospel with the people of God. And it shouldn't be too hard to do, because Jesus already showed us how! All we have to do is follow his example and become the community of faith God created us to be.