December 10, 2019

An Idea to Invite Change

If you say, “We need to make some changes around here,” people get nervous. Less resistance may come if you ask, “What gifts/talents do we have that we can use in ministry?” But even with such an “appreciative” approach to change, congregations may not have the vision or confidence to try something new to serve others outside the congregation.

Let’s face it – inside ministry is easier. Inside our faith communities, we know each other. We have people among us who have needs and we know where to find them and, generally, they look and sound like us. Sure, we can love outsiders, increasing our welcoming to people who walk through our doors. We can give money to or volunteer with agencies who serve those with socioeconomic challenges.

But do these actions involve change to move us out of our comfort zones?

There is much darkness in the world. It can be scary to think about changing ministry in order to venture out to face overwhelming issues. Poverty, racism, human trafficking, illiteracy, violence, and on and on. We’d have to change a lot to battle those.

In our Collect on the first Sunday of Advent, we asked God to give us grace to “put on the armor of light.” Here’s an idea: Current and incoming Vestry members and clergy can prayerfully use these Advent, Christmas and Epiphany seasons to peer through the darkness to find where the light of Christ is most needed in the church’s neighborhood, community, or world. At next year’s Vestry retreat, leadership can invite the Holy Spirit to help discern direction. Opening hearts and minds could lead your church to do something new and unexpected that will change lives.

No one expected a baby born in a stable to do that, but He did. On the third Sunday of Advent, we will pray, “Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us…” Expect that change!