First, credit where credit is due. This training was hosted by the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ELCA, and the presenters were from Partners for Sacred Places.
I learned several good and helpful things from the awesome presenters, Gianfranco Grande and Emily Sajdak. Emily puts together a mean power point, and I was grateful for all her work. Gianfranco is a dynamic presenter, and I'm hopeful that there is much I can learn from him, and ways that I can grow in my understandings of the best ways a church can be used for the mission of God -- sharing love with the world.
The best thing I learned was this, which is a new way of thinking for many.
We are stewards of our church buildings for our community [and for the Mission of God].
I was thinking so hard during the training, I live tweeted it. This training was very worth my time, and I came away with many ideas. I learned new language to communicate with others a new way of thinking about who we are and what we do as church, and how our buildings matter to the places the reside. Our buildings, and how we steward them, matter to God. If we primary encounter God through people, and if we serve Jesus by offering clothing, drinks of water, food, and visits of prisoners (Matthew 25: 31-46), how does that change the ways we use our buildings?
As a young Mom who also requires physical therapy before leaving the house in the morning, the idea that quiet time is the only way to pray is BS. For years I've felt like young, busy parents were just not going to have good prayer lives because of the pressure in may circles to have an extended "quiet time" every morning. Now, I've learned to pray in single sentences.
It keeps me close to God during the day, and also really enriches my prayer life. Another advantage is that my 5 year old can also easily pray in one sentences, so it is good modeling.
I'm inviting Calvary to join in five week of daily three sentence prayers. See the postcards below that I'll be handing out on my first Sunday as part of my sermon, or download the publisher file here to modify it for your own congregation.
One of my Pastor friends, Rev. Erick Johnson, and I were recently together at the Mission Redevelopers training. He said something to me that got stuck in my brain: Celebrate all the time. In redevelopment, people are worn out, and they need celebrations.
Another thing I learned in training was the importance of having short term goals that the congregation and pastor can work on together, especially at the beginning. The first five weeks of this call will be spent preparing for Bishop Wayne Miller to come on June 25 and preside at the installation. We're hoping to have a BIG party, invite everyone we know, raise $650 in donations to kick-start ministry, and fill up our church for a day. Will you join us? Leave us a prayer, blessing, or donation?
Let Calvary know that they are not alone in the Kingdom of God, and that others are praying, caring and rooting for them.
On May 15th, I will begin a new call at Calvary Lutheran Church in Chicago. It is a part time, one-year term call. The goal is to figure out the possibilities for Calvary as a Mission Redevelopment. To do this, we are engaging in a one-year process of discernment together.
At the call meeting, the congregation and I signed a discernment covenant together. You can download it here if you are interested in setting up a covenant like this for your struggling congregation.
Pastor Jess is all about sharing the life-saving love of Jesus with the world. How she does it is up to the Holy Spirit.
This work is licensed by Rev. Jessica A. Harren under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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