I’ve recently been feeling a bit like a student with “senioritis” — you know senioritis, right? It’s the “supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.” (Google dictionary) Students have been working hard for 12 years, or for 4 years of college. The end (graduation) is in sight, but they are weary — they feel like the journey has been long, and they are just ready to get on to the next thing. The catch is, they still have a lot to do — finals, papers, AP tests. They can’t completely let up, even though they want to skip school and go to the lake, or lie in bed and watch Netflix.
That’s kind of where our church is right now. We may be weary of this in-between time, and ready to get on to the next thing. But just like those seniors, we aren’t done with our work yet. We still have steps to take, conversations to have, time to spend in prayer for our future, and decisions to make.
We have had energizing and engaging discussions during Bible study hour over the past 6 weeks. I hope you’ve been able to be at those but if you haven’t, please take time to look at the notes on the Discernment page of our website and see what those conversations have been about. We have generated a lot of ideas, and now the Discernment Committee is working together to thoughtfully discern a vision statement and a leadership profile for our church.
As Daniel has pointed out to us, and as many long-time members might recall, UBC has engaged in long-range planning/visioning/whatever-was-the-lingo-of-the-day a few times in the past. Sometimes, something changed outside of our control which caused us to scrap those plans and take off in a new direction. Sometimes, though, we just failed to bring to fruition the dreams and plans that had been made. Many of our past plans sound a lot like the conversations we are having now. It feels really important that we follow through this time.
Our conversation this past Sunday morning was an opportunity to look at what has become clear to us through all of these discussions, and all the individual and small group conversations that went on leading up to our Sunday morning series. Yes, not surprisingly, our discussions were at times all over the map. Still, there were some themes that emerged — a desire to do something new, something more, to reach people outside of our church — whether university students/faculty/staff, area residents, or neighborhood businesses — while also being mindful of how we can minister to those people who are here. There is some trepidation — we have a multitude of interests, but because of our small size, how do we take on additional vision without being scattered to the winds? We are currently in conflict — how do we work through that with Christian love?
These are the tasks that the Discernment Committee will wrestle with. As Daniel reminds us, we are not merely stenographers, but we have been elected by the church to discern the will of the church for this time. We ask for your prayers for each of us — Anna, Jody, Paul, Richard, Daniel, and me. Pray that we are listening to the Holy Spirit. We you ask you, too, to pray for our church staff — this in-between time is challenging for them. While our members have jobs and volunteer gigs at other places that aren’t going through a time of change, our staff gets the double whammy of having their workplace and their spiritual home in transition. And pray for our church — pray for peace, unity, and a sense of common purpose as we continue on this journey.
Graduation is near, but it is not here yet. “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 NRSV
Discernment Committee Member