Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Triplet Survey Results

First of all, this survey is in no way scientific. The method we’ve used is meant to help us listen for the Spirit’s leading, not to pinpoint any measurable facts or even popular opinions. Here’s what we’ve done:
  • Between Christmas and Easter, nine Triplets met together a number of times. Recognizing the presence of Christ in those meetings, the groups got to know each other and talked as the Spirit led.
  • Toward the end of this time, the Triplets were asked to respond to the following questions: 1) How would you describe us as a church? 2) What do you imagine God is calling us to do in this church and in our community?
  • Six of the groups sent in responses.
  • The organizing team (made up of a moderator, the pastor, and three other members, chosen by the Session) read through the responses, looking for themes that arose from the responses.
Here’s what we saw:
How do we describe ourselves as a church?
We are a family, centered around the Good News of Jesus Christ
who enjoy a traditional style of worship
and seek to be friendly, caring and accepting of
those within and outside of our church walls.
What do we imagine God is calling us to do in this church and community?
There were two obvious calls: to reach out to those (mostly younger families) in our community and to care for the needs of our (mostly older) members. As the team discussed these results, it became evident that these two themes may be a single calling

Unless the participants in this process have strong objections to our summary, these results will be brought to the Session next. Our elders will be asked to consider these responses as they consider our image in the community and as they plan for our future. I am hopeful that this process will lead us to tangible actions that will guide our ministry for the next few years.

Also, there were a lot of great ideas that came up in the Triplet conversations. Feel free to either write out those suggestions to the Session directly or tell them to your favorite elder and let him or her pretend it was their idea.

Monday, May 3, 2010

There's Something About Betty

If I seem a bit bleary-eyed on Sunday morning, it's because I will have stayed up too late on Saturday. You see, Betty White is hosting Saturday Night Live and I am not going to miss it; I have a thing for Bettys.

I met a friend's mom named Betty yesterday and said that to her. I immediately realized that I should probably explain myself so she didn't think I was hitting on her: I have never met a woman named Betty in a church that wasn't awesome. I qualify that statement with "in a church" because I don't want to be presumptuous; perhaps there are Bettys in this world that are awful people who don't go to church. But at the same time, I realize I don't have to; where else but in the church are you going to run into someone named Betty? It's one of those names that was big in its generation, but has since faded out a bit. You're not likely to meet, for example, a twenty year-old Betty. Sure, you'll meet an Elizabeth, or a Liz, or even a Beth; but
Bettys are more and more becoming an endangered species. And of course, Bettys are of a generation where church was not an option.

I think my thing for Bettys started about fifteen to twenty years ago. I was working in a church that, like many, was having a bit of conflict. My personality has always wanted everyone to get along so it was stressful and difficult to stay out of other people's quarrels. There I was, training for church work, while all around me people were tense and upset... except for the Bettys. There were a couple of women named Betty who, for some reason, were able to rise above it all: they were supportive and always seemed happy to see me; they never spoke ill of anyone; and no matter what else was going on around them, they had an amazing ability to remain sweet, generous, and calm through it all. At the time, their example taught me a great deal about church conflict: namely that being right isn't all there is. Often (if not always), whatever we're arguing over is far less important than the love we are called to show one another.

At the time, those Bettys gave me an example of what I strive to be among my siblings in Christ. It wasn't until later that it became a "Betty thing." In the next church I worked in, it happened like this: I met a woman who was awesome and thought, "Wow, she reminds me of Betty." Sure enough, that was her name. Since then I've worked in several other churches and I've met Bettys in every one of them. And yes, they've all been awesome.

So I guess my point today is simply this: lets all strive to be a little more Betty... whether that's your name or not. And if your reoccurring example for living out the love of Jesus isn't named Betty, then feel free to insert their name here instead. And who knows, maybe in doing so your name might one day become synonymous to someone else of what is best about the church.