“I’m Hearing Good Things”

 “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.” Jesus in Luke 7:22

Sometimes people send emails or texts saying, “I’m hearing good things” about The Church where I live. Love that. And I always want to know what they are hearing.

  • I hear you have a great staff.
  • I hear your churches are taking some interesting risks.
  • I hear your churches are addressing racism.
  • I hear your churches are building affordable housing.

Our staff is indeed great because we collaborate well, trust each other, and can share hard things.

Some of our churches are calling pastors they wouldn’t have called even 5 years ago. Not all the churches but some of the churches are taking faithful risks to call leaders who don’t look like previous leaders.

We have been requiring anti-racism training for a couple years now and lots of our leaders haven’t taken the training yet. We’re working on it.

And yes, several of our congregations are building/planning to build affordable housing both on their campuses and on properties donated or purchased in other neighborhoods because housing is a crucial issue where we live.

Thanks be to God.

As we celebrate the bounty of our lives in the next week, it’s a fine time for our congregations to dig deeply into the reasons why things might not be going well.

Have you heard these not-so-good things lately?

  • Young people aren’t coming to church anymore.
  • We can’t afford a pastor.
  • Nobody wants to volunteer.

Better conversations might be:

  • How are we building trust in our congregation?
  • How are we partnering with other churches or organizations for mission?
  • What are we doing to address conflict between members or groups of members?
  • If not racism, what hard realities are we addressing as a congregation? Poverty? Addiction? Domestic Violence?
  • What risks are we willing to take to help our church thrive? Invest in a life-giving mission project? Call a leader who doesn’t look like our previous leaders?

If God is leading us, we can take on the not-so-good things and become a congregation that helps the blind see, the lame move, the deaf hear, the ostracized accepted, the dead resurrected, and the poor feeling hope. These things are possible both literally and figuratively.

When I hear good things about the 21st Century Church and it’s always from those congregations who have abandoned the notion that the Church is about us to remember to the truth that the Church is about loving God and neighbor. I can’t wait to hear good things about your church in 2023.

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