One step in discerning future direction at FLC is reviewing with you some of the goals you shared with us during the call process. You will remember our forums and survey on worship and music earlier this year, cheap which has informed our search for a music director and the task of the Worship, information pills Arts and Music Committee.
Another goal is that you are “motivated to reinvigorate relationships in fellowship, leadership, and spiritual growth.” What did you mean by that? What perspective do we, as your pastors, have on this topic?
At a recent council meeting, I shared that this raises a real basic question: what do we want for people? FLC’s constitution states that our purpose is to transmit the gospel, to nurture people in the Word of God, help people identify God’s call and serve in response to human need.
To connect with the language of the goal, we want people to grow spiritually: to be engaged personally, thoughtfully, with God’s liberating word and grace, meeting us in a way appropriate to just where we are, in our struggles and doubts. We want people to have a share in leadership: meaningful, inspiring ministry and service; where we’re supported and accountable. We want people to have fellowship: a sense of belonging, of enjoyment and mutual care.
Sounds good, right? But isn’t it obvious, that the church wants all this for people? By no means! I think of when I once invited someone to church after presiding at his wedding. His answer: “No way – you’re not getting me to be one of your recruits.” His perception was that the church just wanted more people to pay the bills and fill the pews, so we’d feel more successful. He’d seen church marketing and met Christians, but at this point, it wasn’t clear that anyone in church would really care about him. He had no experience that would inform him otherwise. After that, the two of us did become friends and have some good talks about life and its meaning – on barstools. (And he usually paid!)
I can get so wrapped up in church business as usual that I’m not aware of what people are experiencing. Think of what it’s like to be a new to FLC, looking for a spiritual connection, some meaningful way to serve and sense of belonging. How prepared do we feel to share the life-changing gospel with people who may be quite new to church? What do we offer to those who are new? “I could serve on a committee, but is that really what I’m looking for?”
Maybe not – but committees and other groups can also provide spiritual care and meaning. I think of the comradery among those who serve dinner for EHP, and the connection to God choir members experience even in the task of serving worship. How do build on these experiences?
There is some interest in a new women’s group, musical folk-jam. What other new experiences do we provide? Council will also be considering the potential and function of our Koinonia groups. This month, we’ll be spending a little time revisiting our Reconciling in Christ statement of welcome, which needs to be updated for a new era – an opportunity to reflect on the blessings newcomers bring to this community.