Two years ago, my wife read an article that encouraged the reader to choose a word. And not just any word, but THE word. A word that would be your one word for the year. A word that would be what you focused on for the year. That year we chose obey and courage. That was at the beginning of the year, and then 5 months later, on May 28th, we found out about the golf ball-sized tumor in my head. And BOY was “obey” and “courage” both put to the test in major ways!
As we drove home from a short vacation, we talked about what words we were going to pick for the new year. We laughed that, after the “follow through” of obey and courage, we thought “not involved” and “status quo” might be good choices! But we DID, instead, pick actual GOOD words for the year. My wife chose “transform”.
I thought a lot about what word to choose. In fact, I found a website with an alphabetical list of verbs…as I wanted my word to be an action word. I literally read through about 400 verbs. And then, it hit me. I had actually seen the word already and was several letters past it. But for some reason, it came back to me. My word for the year is “dream”.
I have always been a bit of a dreamer. I tend to live by the George Bernard Shaw quote, “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’” I tend to think outside the box and like to imagine “what if?” And I think that word- dream- is going to play a BIG part this year in the ministry of the church I currently serve.
THE hardest step for a growing church to make, statistically, is consistently breaking the “200 in weekly worship attendance” barrier. It’s one thing to occasionally tiptoe over that border and then slide back down into the comfort of the 180’s and 190’s. But to consistently break that barrier is a REALLY hard hurdle to cross. But for the 2nd year in a row, we ended the year WELL over that barrier. We have now proven that we can not only cross that threshold- we can STAY past it.
That is a GREAT thing. But it also has big implications. God has blessed this congregation in powerful ways. But like that great theologian from the Spiderman comics Uncle Ben says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” My experience with growing congregations is that if you are faithful with a little, God will give you more. But once you are no longer being faithful with what God has given you, it starts to contract. And eventually you will slide back to your previous comfort level.
The church I currently serve has space issues. We have more ministries going on than we have room for. The 80% Rule says that once you pass the 80% mark in capacity, people start getting uncomfortable and whatever you are measuring will start to dwindle until you get back below 80%. Churches tend to measure space in four main areas- worship, Christian Education, parking and nursery. At one of our 3 worship services, we are pushing the 80% mark. On Sunday mornings, we are over 80% in Christian Education. Some Sundays, we are pushing 80% in the nursery. And nearly every day, we are WAY past 80% in parking.
So we sit at a crossroads. We stand at the threshold. What we were is behind us. What we could be is in front of us. And we stand in the middle. And so, this year is going to require a lot of…dreaming. (“AH! You finally came back to it, didn’t you, Pastor?!”) And in this particular setting, dreaming doesn’t mean daydreaming. It means thinking outside the box. It means not throwing out ideas and possibilities simply because they seem a bit far-fetched on the surface. And most of all, it means being open to what God is calling us to do and then dreaming how that might look in real time.
Here’s my question for you- what word will YOU pick?
Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow and stick with Jesus!
Tomorrow- A Look Back