One of my best friends likes to make “non-posts” on Facebook whenever news comes out. “This is not a post about John Boehner.” “This is not a post about the dangers of eating bacon.” Once I wrote a post that said, “This is not a post about Greg Stewart.” You can see why we get along so well.
It’s been a long thirteen months at Decatur First. We’ve talked about where we were. We’ve talked about where we are. We’ve talked about where we’re going. Since August or so, it seems like every Sunday we hear something about our “Future Story.” That all culminated a couple of weeks ago when we experienced a presentation of our future story in a unified worship service, and the process turned in a new direction: the future story map.
This has been an excellent, excellent experience for our church. We have gained insight on the areas we need to improve. More importantly, the church has identified its calling, its direction, it’s purpose. People are pumped up about it. Woohoo!
I’ve been thinking lately that continuing to refer to the “future story” may be problematic. If the story is always in the future, how will we ever get there? The answer is that our future is not a set path. Rather it is flexible as each tomorrow changes based on our choices today. Still, we are calling it a future story, so for me that answer somewhat misses the point.
So this is not an article about our future story. [Editor’s note: I really want to put a long quote from Spaceballs here, but it’s only tangentially related. You can earn 1000 points by emailing me about the scene in question.] The future, as they say, is now. This is an article about now. We have decided together that God is calling us to build relationships with each other and with the community and with God. We have decided together that God is calling us to use our gifts out of love for other people. Now is the time to begin doing just that. Don’t wait for the future!
How can you do that? Do you know everyone in the choir? Do you know their names? Do you know who they are? If you don’t, go up to someone you don’t know much about and ask. Then listen to the answer. Each person in our choir (and indeed in our church) has an interesting story to tell. I guarantee it. Getting to know each other is a great place to start.
And then what about our community? Many of you have told me that a lot of your friends are already in the choir or in the church. But how many people do you see on a daily basis? I’d be willing to bet that each person you see has a great story to tell too! Take a risk. Ask. Be interested. Care. I believe that the message of the Christ is that we must care about our neighbors (and of course he defined neighbors as...everyone). It’s not just handing the homeless guy a couple of bucks or a bag of chips. It’s not smiling and holding the door for the person behind you. It’s embracing the stories people have to tell and celebrating the value of each person you encounter.
What about God? For ourselves, we can show up. We can give God an hour (or two and a half hours) each week. For others, we can remember Christ’s assurance that what we do for the least, we do for him. If ours are the hands of Christ for them, then they will be closer to God.
It’s not about growing our church, and it never has been. If it is, we should go ahead and shut the doors now! It’s about allowing the grace of God to flow through us. Through our hands. Through our gifts. It’s loving and giving and caring more than we ever thought we could. It’s about being who Christ calls us to be. This is our story. This is our song. Not some time in the future, but right now.