It's been good to celebrate the baptisms of five of our young people!
Holy Week and Easter were wonderful. Lent was the busiest I've had in ages. While I know the church is not as busy at it could be, I'd have to say that you continue to surprise and please me by being more "member-driven" than "minister-driven," not waiting for me to decide where we're going! That's important. A member-driven church means that you are not waiting for your next pastor to come in and tell you what to do. It means that you are being a fully-mature church rather than a church that is in a holding pattern. It means that when a new pastor arrives, you'll be able to inform him/ her about what the church is about rather than saying, "We've been sitting here waiting for someone to come and get us going again."
Jesus told the parable of the talents. You might remember it (Matthew 25: 14 - 30). The "master" decided to take a trip, so he called his three most trusted workers together and gave each of them some money to look after. Two of them invested the money and increased its value, while one just held onto it so he wouldn't risk losing it. For me, the similarity of this story to our situation is that most of you have invested your time and energy in some way that your faith and involvement have grown. Very few have just sat back and waited for "whoever is next." If you remember the end of the parable, when the master returned, only one of the servants got in trouble: the one who hadn't done anything.
The church of today will be the church of tomorrow only if it is a member-driven church. We'll never be the church we were even 10 years ago, much less 50 years or more ago.
That's not a bad thing.
The world isn't what it was 10 years ago, and would be unrecognizable 50 or more years back! Let's face it: as recently as 25 years ago, "Google" was not even a noun, much less a verb! The changes that will be coming in the next five years will be amazing, unthinkable to some, but necessary if we are to do more than just survive. The church of Jesus Christ has never been about just surviving (those churches that have are, in many cases, barely recognizable as churches today or not in existence at all!). Those that adapt to the modern world don't die: they take the best of the world outside (computers, live streaming, and big screens in the sanctuary) and use them to make both strangers and members feel more at home in worship and during the week.
The future isn't coming, it's already here (somebody else said that, and they were absolutely correct). The best way we can meet that future and not just be dragged along by it is to worship honestly, to love each other, and to offer compassion and service to the world in which we live.
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These thoughts and reflections come from our Senior Minister, Minister of Music and Board Chair. We hope that they provide both challenge and inspiration for your spiritual life.