There are certain creatures (like sharks, for instance) that die if they don’t keep moving. I think that organizations, including congregations, are the same. A congregation that stops being propelled by its mission (Share God’s Love) toward embracing its vision (to be the open arms of Jesus Christ) soon settles into a death spiral, weighed down by traditions, anxiety, fear. To keep moving spiritually, an individual must constantly be open to reflection – being honest about who we are and what is keeping us from living the Divine image of God; repentance – turning away from the fear and brokenness of our lives back to God; renewal – making the changes necessary to grow more fully into our life.
Congregations have a similar pattern of reflection – looking at what is working and not working; repentance/reimagining – letting go of the things that hinder; renewal – embracing new ways forward propelled by mission to live a vision.
Right now, our congregation is engaged in the process of reflection/reimagining/renewal in many ways. We really are always in this process, but right now I want to point out three things:
First, at our recent Congregation Council Retreat, we took time to reflect on how we as a Council and congregation are fulfilling the purposes set out in our governing documents. The consensus of the group is that we are, for the most part, doing what we say we should be doing. That is something to celebrate! We also identified things that could be improved when it comes to how we govern, plan, and enact ministry with more efficiency and clarity. You’ll be hearing more about this in the coming weeks and months.
Second, our new Staff Learning Team, is busily reflecting on everything we have been doing to provide spiritual transformation for members from birth to age eighteen. The mission, vision, values, and beliefs are the guiding star in this process. New eyes and creative spirits are at work and exciting things are and will transpire.
Finally, we are reviewing and reflecting on our communications efforts. The pandemic has rewritten lots of rules and unsettled many common practices. You’ve perhaps seen the launch of a video daily devotional called Love Notes. The website and social media outlets are being used more fully. And we’re asking questions like, “Is Grace Notes a worthwhile tool for ministry?” We know how many people “click” on it. We receive 2-3 comments a month. That does not answer the question well. You, dear reader, need to tell us how you use and value these articles. Are we writing about what you want to hear about? Should there be something different. Has the slow decline of reading anything in our world brought us to an effort that needs to be replaced, redone, re… well “re” something?
Please leave us a comment with your thoughts so we can assess and keep moving ahead in mission.
Pax Christi – Tim Olson, Lead Pastor
10/21/2021 10:32:10 am
I look forward to Grace Notes each week. The written word is still powerful even in today’s world of short sound bites and videos. For me, reading leads to a much deeper opportunity to reflect on the thoughts the writer conveys. In addition, I often learn a new concept or a new way to look at the world which enables me to go out into the world with a more open mind or with a stronger conviction of what I know. Thank you Pastor Tim and Pastor Pam for the effort and planning that is Grace Notes.
10/21/2021 04:01:57 pm
LeAnn wrote an insightful, thoughtful post which I agree with and can’t think of anything to add. Thank you for Grace Notes:)
10/22/2021 02:54:36 pm
I find the printed Grace Notes beneficial. I enjoy being able to read and ponder and come back to them again.
10/22/2021 03:25:00 pm
I also agree with LeAnn’s insightful comments. I realize this may be a “sound bite” and video culture, but people are still reading. The publishing business is booming, so somebody must be reading all those books they are selling. For me (and, I think LeAnn, Sue, and Kathryn), reading allows my brain to be more active at least when I’m trying to consider complex topics, and I can go back and reread and reflect…which maybe some people do with video or audio. It makes your work much more complex, but it is important to use various methods to accommodate people’s different learning styles. Thanks for keeping us moving with the sharks!
10/25/2021 11:07:19 am
I read the Grace Notes online and often save to my Holy Trinity file on my computer. At times I forwarded to friends and/or family and often print the Grace Note out to reference for reflection and study.
10/26/2021 01:07:15 pm
I enjoy reading both Grace Notes and Love Notes, the daily devotional. For me, tgese5-6 minute videos are powerful in that they take a small portion of scripture and apply it directly to our life as individuals and as a church community.
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