It was great to have a “live” congregation in the church again last Sunday, even though numbers were still restricted and only A-H’s were invited. 32 attended, with others joining in via Zoom on 65 devices. If you missed it, the recording is available on our website at https://youtu.be/DaZTnhrzHEc
I led the service and preached on “You’re Invited” (from Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30). I shared the invitation that is extended to all — to joy through the mourning of repentance; to divine wisdom through divine relationship; and to renewal and new life through coming to Christ. Towards the end of my sermon I quoted the Message Bible’s version of Mt 11:28 — “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me…”
During the week I was interested to read an article that I came across with the title “My Church is tired! How do we overcome missional paralysis?” It was from the “Ministry Matters” website and written by Michael Beck, a minister in the United Methodist Church. Although the context is American, much of it is applies more widely. It’s at least food for thought as we reconsider ministry and mission during these uncertain times and as we commence our review into ministry needs and staffing. The link is https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/10400/my-church-is-tired-how-do-we-overcome-missional-paralysis in case you would like to read more than my very brief outline below.
He begins by saying: “Churches across the country have been doing amazing work during this incredible time of disorientation. Yet it seems as the pandemic rages on, much of the energy and creativity is beginning to dissipate… With the spiking of the virus, and loss of a clear plan, many of us have fallen into a state of ‘missional paralysis’.”
After some encouraging words from Hebrews 12:1-2, he then gives 5 key learnings, gleaned from his interaction with hundreds of other US pastors, that he suggests can help overcome “Mission Paralysis”.
(1) The health of our congregants is the top priority.
(2) Self-care — spiritually and physically.
(3) Grow the centre, experiment on the edge. Manage the tension of caring for what is while creating what will be.
(4) To default or pivot? In times of disorientation, we either default back to old mental models or, more beneficially, pivot to new creative ways.
(5) Discern actionable dimensions and prototype forward. This is the longest and most technical section (with talk of reframing, mind-mapping, prototyping) but does include a practical example.
I mentioned NAIDOC week on Sunday. For many years now, this has run from the first to the second Sundays in July. The NAIDOC Week Committee recently postponed official celebrations to 8-15 November this year due to Covid-19 but many have chosen to celebrate during the usual period as well in keeping with the legacy of the Aboriginal Christian leader William Cooper. The theme this year is “Always Was Always Will Be“.
Jeanette Mathews is leading and preaching this coming Sunday and will also be acknowledging NAIDOC week. The readings will be Genesis 25:19-34 and Romans 8:22-28. You will be able to obtain the order of service and the Zoom link to the service from the e-bulletin that will be emailed as usual tomorrow.
The service time is now 10.00am. We look forward to having a congregation in the Church again on Sunday. This time it’s the turn of those with surnames from I-Z. Precautions that we are applying include hand sanitising before entry, signing-on, distancing, a limit of 40 in the Church with an overflow in the Hall, byo cushion and e-bulletin, no morning tea, offering box and extra cleaning. We encourage A-H’s, those who can’t attend and those who are not yet ready to return to join in the live-stream we are continuing to provide through Zoom.
Belinda has been on leave during the school holidays, even though you may have seen her around. She officially returns to duty on Wednesday next week (15th) although she is intending to join in the Deacons’ meeting on Monday night (13th). The office is expected to be closed on Tuesday (14th) while replacement of the heater ducting in the ceilings above the office area is undertaken.
May God continue to uphold you during these challenging times.