Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What's Next

Over the past few weeks some of us at Grace have been talking about the future.  As our new sanctuary continues under construction, we've opened ourselves up to ideas, questions and prayers for what's next.  Do we shift worship times?  Do we merge services?  Saturday night?  Sunday night?
Out of these discussions some questions have arisen to help guide our thoughts and prayers.  They have been framed this way.

What is best for my family?

What is best for this church?

What is best for those not yet here?

And the really tough one, what is God's will?

1. What is best for my family?
Some might here this question and immediately jump on it as a selfish question based on our own needs, wants and desires.  In addition, should this really be the first question we ask?
But in my humble opinion, it's a valid question.  Why?  How many times to we actually pray and think about this in our lives?  Much of life is running and doing.  If we actually sat down as a family and said,  "What is best for the spiritual journey of our family?", the answers might surprise us.

2. What is best for this church?
We are the body of Christ.  We have a church family made up of members, guests, new guests and staff, etc.  As we think about the future of Grace and where we might be in a few years, it's tough to answer "what is best?"  So, "what is best for our Grace church family, leadership, staff and pastors?" might be a better question.

3. What is best for those not yet here?
Grace has access to numerous amounts of research and data about the non-churched in our community. We also have research throughout the United States from Barna and other sources.  One of those other sources lifted up that most young families in the US would like to attend a worship service on Sunday morning between 9-930 am.  In addition, traditional or blended services are most well attended between 10-1030 am (especially locally).  Some churches have a Sunday school hour, but many churches have canceled Sunday school.  Now some of you are reading this saying stuff like
"That can't be true".
"The statistics are wrong"
And my favorite is "that has not been my experience".
But, do we really know the thoughts of the "non-churched".  Much work has been done in this area by numerous organizations.  This data is useful, but should not be our only guide.

4. What is the will of God...for my family, this church, those not yet here?
To love God and neighbor means that we set aside our own personal wants and desires.  We open our heart, soul, strength and mind to His leading and teaching.  If we are here to truly make disciples, that would mean a) grow the disciples here b) reach new disciples

Everything we do should be focused through our understanding of God's will, revealed in Jesus Christ, and shared to us through the Word of God, the Church, our own experiences and our accumulated knowledge.

Please think pray about these questions and you look toward the future here at Grace.  The church, the world and our relationship with God is ever changing.  Be open to the Holy Spirit.

And ultimately, the questions should be read in reverse order.

Go in peace and go with God.

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