I am bouncing off the walls excited about returning to in-person worship this Sunday, November 7th!!!! As long as numbers remain down, we will remain inside together, with masks and distance respected. I cannot wait to see all of you who can join us in the sanctuary this coming Sunday as well as those who need to continue joining via Zoom.
As we continue to welcome guests into our space, we need to do some work! Be watching your email for scheduled workdays SOON, most likely on a Saturday morning and another on an afternoon to organize, de-clutter, and spruce up our space.
Our world continues to struggle to recover from the pandemic, from political discord, from social problems we just can’t yet seem to figure out. AND, people are being broken open to better understand the suffering of others, are deciding to live their lives more intentionally in nature and with loved ones rather than on the hamster wheel, and are awakening to the need for people of good will to stand up and speak out.
As a people of faith, we are finding our own way. We are repenting of being far too silent far too long in this community out of fear of making ourselves a target for our more conservative neighbors and are becoming a more visible progressive presence. We are discerning where God wants to lead us in the future.
We are asking ourselves how and where we are willing to take up our own crosses to follow God into that future. Discipleship is rewarding and full of joy, and also involves a willingness to let go of our places of comfort to share of ourselves in ever deeper and bolder ways.
We are on the precipice of something amazing happening in and through Faith Church. Many of you feel and have commented on it. It has already begun. We don’t want to beg, borrow, and plead for people to contribute their time, energy, talents, and resources, we don’t want to beg people to come and join our church…we want to LET them.
This video from punk rocker, Amanda Palmer sheds a much different light on the idea of asking vs. allowing folks to participate. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch it.
Then ask yourself, “Do I tell folks about Faith Church activities and invite them to participate? If not, why not? What feels uncomfortable or scary about that?” and send me your answers.
At the end of the day, when we say we want to repent of our position as the best kept secret in town and do something different, we get to ask ourselves why our number one best chance of getting people in the doors—word of mouth marketing—is not happening.
The research shows that when people believe their church makes their life better then they are more likely to tell others about it and allow them to have access to that goodness, too. I know you love Faith Church. I know how dear this family of faith, our history and traditions, our values for justice and service are to you. So why are we not telling others?
The better we understand what gets in our way of each and every one of us sharing what Faith Church means to us and inviting others to take part in our work and worship, to the table from which far too many have felt excluded far too long, the better our chance at doing something different.
If churches do not open theirs doors wide and go out to find others who need and want community, the doors of the church do not remain open long, in our current era. Church attendance was once assumed as part of the culture. Since the late 2000s, organized religion has been in decline, except those faith communities that still claim evangelism as part of what it means to be a follower of Christ.
There is a means of evangelism, sharing the Good News of God, that is not about conversion, coercion, or judgment but about sharing that there is a different way to understand God and follow Jesus that is about…
- using the minds God gave us to think for ourselves and reason together, wrestling with God for answers from a place of relationship rather than fear
- service of others, radical hospitality and inclusion, wasteful love and the pursuit of justice, and the kin-dom of community rather than kingdom and dominance
Whom do you know who may not have the warmth and acceptance of a family of faith like you have? As we return to the sanctuary in-person, again, it is an excellent opportunity to offer the sanctuary of a different kind of God, a different kind of church, to your dog walker, hair dresser, co-worker, neighbor, best friend, or person sitting next to you at your kid’s games.
We are not begging, we are not coercing, we are not manipulating or judging or insulting. We are letting folks know a place exists that may just let them feel comfortable coming back to church. Tell ‘em your pastor will be in jeans and boots, and they’re welcome to do the same. I’ll see you, and your friends, this Sunday!