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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hatches

All signals appear to be that we should be “battening down the hatches” in anticipation of some severe weather on its way here. All around me people are preparing for canceled meetings, lots of gas in the tanks, pantry stocked and plans made for kids at home for snow day—maybe even multiple days.

I’m thinking of ways this relates to an ongoing conversation we’ve been having around our CEM lunch table lately. It’s as if there’s something anticipated; no one is quite certain what it will look like, but there’s the definite sense that we’d better be getting prepared. One of the tasks of leadership is to cast the “long eye” into the future to try to discern the signs and signals and then to come up with some strategies to make ready. Whether this future is a stormy one or not, there’s still the need to get prepared.

The tendency is to look at the storm that’s already forming up on the near horizon. How do we meet this year’s budget? Who will take on the church school director’s job? Who will speak next week, next month, next year? How do we get more bums in pews? And we know that if we focus on all those urgent questions, we’ll find ourselves asking more serious questions. Is it time to sell this building? What happened to the next generation of leaders? How will we replace those faithful donors?

Of course in some instances the life-cycle of a congregation has indeed run its course and we will need to celebrate decades of ministry and blessing to a community and say a fond good-bye. That will happen. But sometimes it’s just lack of vision and strategic thinking and focusing on the “urgent” rather than the “important” that bring us to the brink of an unwelcome and unnecessary future.

Whether or not this blizzard hits us, there will be storms in our future. Our task as leaders and as members is to realize that we need to be ready. And being ready is long-range. It’s making sure the kids feel included and respected. It’s ensuring the youth get to connect with friends and have opportunities to expand their world into the broader church and into the wider community. It’s giving youth and young adults genuine roles and real responsibilities and making ready to hand off leadership to a new generation, already equipped with practical skills and experience and supportive networks to take over. It’s taking time out from the nitty-gritty of all those urgent things that need our attention to slow down and take the long look to make sure we have a future when it arrives.

I’d sure love to hear from you some of the things you’re doing in your congregation to look into this longer future. Maybe a couple of stormy days might give you just the opportunity you need to do that.

Posted by Marion

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