Imagine you are on a mission. You’re hoofing it down the street, sure in your actions and then suddenly you’re knocked off your feet by a flash of light and a booming voice. That’s pretty much what happened to Saul of Tarsus – later Saint Paul – in the Book of Acts. If you joined us at the volunteer appreciation dinner last week, this might sound familiar. It’s one of many examples of what our guest speaker Dr. Michael Chan refers to as the “disruptive God of Acts.” I’ll admit that I’m not very familiar with the Book of Acts so it was fascinating to listen to Dr. Chan, an Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary, and honestly, could not have come at a better time for me personally or for us in the life of our congregation. Frankly, it’s just what we need. God, the Disruptor.
But, this doesn’t have to carry the negative connotation so often associated with word disruption. No! In fact, I think this is exactly what we need at Christ the King. We need to experience change, newness, discussion, failure, success, debate…disruption. These things a healthy, growing, vibrant congregation do make.
Today, we are too comfortable. We’re comfortable in our traditions; comfortable in our worship patterns; comfortable in our social groups; comfortable in our expression of faith; comfortable in the place we sit in the sanctuary, each week without fail. We’re so comfortable that the slightest change in the way we do things is unnerving, it’s disruptive. I get it, I feel it too. Our challenge from God is to discern together our calling; who God needs us to be in our community, at this moment.
The good thing? We’ve already started. The listening circles that so many participated in last year marked the first steps on our renewed journey of discernment. By taking the time to truly listen to one another and share with each other our hopes and dreams, our apprehensions and questions, we have opened ourselves up to hear what it is God has in store for us. To paraphrase Dr. Chan, God doesn’t use us because we are sufficient for the task, God uses us because we are here and God is sufficient for the task. Earlier this year, the Council spent the better part of a few months reviewing and aggregating what you told us in the listening circles and drafted Values Statements that were presented in June at our Annual Meeting, Part II. We held roundtable discussions this past month to hear from you in more detail about each of these statements and now, we are in the process of formalizing these values - Building Community, Engaging Worship, Growing Compassion, and Nurturing Faith- all in our effort to discover our part in God’s mission to Build a Beloved Community.
That brings me to what’s called the hard ask, one with many responses, none of which are, “No.” All of our many unique strengths are needed to create the Beloved Community and there are three things that you can do right now to build upon the foundation we already have. First, I invite you to join us on Wednesday, September 18that 6:00pm for our annual Ministry Summit, here at Christ the King. All are invited, though it will be geared toward lay leadership and volunteers from our diverse and plentiful set of committees and teams and will focus on helping committees and teams realize how we fit together in the context of our values statements and God’s mission in our community. Committee Chairs and Team Leads, please spread the word to your volunteers and we’ll see you on 9/18 at 6pm. Second, pray for and encourage those in our community that are doing God’s work (here’s a hint…that’s all of us). Finally, challenge yourselves to invite more; include more; equip more; give more; get uncomfortable;