Monday, August 07, 2017

The Day After #2--8.6.17

A fellow blogger used to do this Monday Morning Quarterback kind of thing where he would blog about how worship went the weekend before. I think this might be helpful. Only I am calling mine "The Day After", reminding myself of the apocalyptic movie of my youth. I think I will review with less of a tick-tock and more of a general summary.

The Night Before:
I had the sermon done relatively early this week. I focused on developing a more detailed script for myself of the communion service. I think it worked well. The first two months I was here, I did not get the congregation's way of practicing the Lord's Supper down well. Then, I tried to something more innovative and creative with communion (which leaned on more mainline tradition actually). It did not work as well as I had hoped. This Saturday, I scripted out and went through the traditional format for the church in my mind, clearly spelling out roles and words for myself and my chair of the deacon board. Seemed to go well, and I seemed to be more confident as well. 

The Morning Before:
Part of what I do on a lot of Sundays is review the Powerpoint presentation as a way of practicing my sermon in my head. I make a few notes on my sermon outline in pen/pencil. I write slide numbers to transition to next to points in my sermon. Correct errors or issues. 

Sunday School:
I sat in with this again this Sunday. We are currently using curriculum downloaded from the internet. I would like to get a curriculum in place that is more focused on active learning and standardized with the kids. 

Worship:
A couple of weeks ago, a couple in the church said they were going to leave the church because I did not greet them often enough before worship. After some effort at patching things up, they were back this week. I made sure I greeted them as quickly as possible. It helped that they arrived a little earlier, and I a little later to the sanctuary.

For our main service, I am really passionate about blended worship. I think as a congregation, our best plan moving forward is to harness our assets as an intergenerational congregation. That means listening to the worship preferences of the old folks and the young folks. Lately we have been singing a hymn with our call to worship as we start off, and then singing praise songs or choruses after the greeting and announcements. I like the flow at this point. It seems to go well. 

Our children's message was well received. 

The sermon seemed to go well too. Because of time constraints, I eliminated some things about Jonah from the sermon that I can pick up at other points in the study.

I have been working at getting down from the platform and on to the floor as I deliver my message, This is at our executive minister's recommendation. I think it seems to go well. 

We had a liturgical dance meditation leading us into communion. That seemed to flow well.

Communion went better than it has since I have been here. I think it was because of  prayer,  a more scripted plan, and clear communication with folks beforehand.

I would like to have a second table placed on the floor in the front of the sanctuary with the elements placed on it so our deacons don't have to walk back, pick up, drop off, pick up again from the back of the sanctuary.

After Worship

We gave a former associate pastor a tour of our residence. He and his family used to live there. They enjoyed seeing how things had changed. I enjoyed hearing stories of what happened in the house.

We had dinner with folks in our church again. It was a great lunch.

I visited a senior in our church. She wanted to give me her dog since she could no longer have it. Turns out, after lengthy discussion with other family members, the dog would not be good with the kids.

The dog issue created a little rift between myself, some folks in the congregation, and our family. My family wants a dog. Members of our church want the parsonage to be a pristine little show home as they just remodeled it, and some members don't see pets fitting into the vision for the home they want us to live in. Other folks, including me, think a parsonage, even after a remodel, is meant to be lived in with a family and including pets. I'm sure this will come up again.

The church seemed more full this week, but attendance was down. That was discouraging.





Tuesday, August 01, 2017

On Being Patient

When I was a kid, I fished a lot. I would get home from school, grab my fishing pole, and head down to the river to fish until dinner time (The world was a lot safer place forty years ago). Fishing was always a challenge for me. I was and am not the most patient person. In addition to this, I was very eager to catch fish. I was always wondering if I had a fish on. Every current and every snag felt like it could be a potential nibble on my pole. I would set my hook and start reeling my line in. And there would just be a poor, traumatized little worm on the end of my line. After a while, I added a bobber to my line and learned to trust it. Even more though, I learned that when a fish bit my line, I knew it. I may have thought I felt a bite before, but when the fish hit my bait, my pole would show the evidence and my hands would feel it.

Right now it is hard to patient as I seek to lead and grow this church. I know we need to take steps forward. We have even taken a few. Yet, as Jesus said, reaching out and living on mission for him is a lot like fishing. I keep hoping that I will be successful in growing our church. On the other hand, I know I need to be patient to respond to his timing and not my own. I will keep seeking the right holes to fish in, and I will pray that when God's timing is leading us in a specific direction, I will know it.