Turning Around the Church?

A cautionary word from a secular source for pastors who lead transition: “The thing is, a customer is never out of warranty, even if his product is.” -S. Godin
The people who are the Church (‘customer’ in Seth’s quote) may indeed use a dated model (‘product’ in the quote). But THEY are not ‘out of warrenty’ (think ‘useful, Kingdom contribution’)…just the model.

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“We live in a multifaith world. In the

“We live in a multifaith world. In the past, an “interfaith” encounter in our culture involved a Congregationalist talking to a Presbyterian or Methodist. That situation has changed dramatically. Now our neighbors, co-workers and even family members are Muslims, Mormons, Buddhists, Sikhs or Pagans, and many other things. At the same time, America and the West is entering post-Christendom. While there are still significant numbers of people identifying as Christian in America, the church has lost credibility and no longer functions as the defining center of cultural discourse. As well, a younger generation of Evangelicals is much more aware of religious diversity and seeks a different way of understanding and engaging this than we have in the past. So the health of the church is related to this issue.” – John Morehead (Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy)

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Season of Returning: Rain at Winter’s End | Transforming Center

Season of Returning: Rain at Winter’s End | Transforming Center.

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“…denial, of course, is the strategy

“…denial, of course, is the strategy of assuming that the future will be just like today.” -S. Godin

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TODAY is Epiphany, 2014 – the day follow

TODAY is Epiphany, 2014 – the day followers of Jesus recall the visit of Magi, coming to worship THE KING. It is a time to remember that Jesus is more than ‘my personal savior’ or the ‘Jewish Messiah’. He is, indeed, the Savior of the whole world – His Father’s Kingdom is for everyone, including you…including me! Good News, indeed.

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“Meetings done poorly are clutter in a

“Meetings done poorly are clutter in a leader’s life.” – Mark Miller

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Change…and the Nesting Instinct

If you’ve been following my last two blogs, you know I find myself in the midst of a change-series. I’m not sure that’s what I set out to do, but it is life in the present. So, here is the 3rd in a _?__ part series!

As I’ve written earlier, we closed on the sale of our townhouse on July 16. Today is September 7… so, 54 days ago.

In those 7+ weeks, we’ve been temporarily living with our oldest son, daughter-in-law, and 3½-year-old granddaughter. [At least we’ve stayed with them about 17 of those days, which is more than we’ve stayed anywhere else…]

Our daughter-in-law is 13 ½ months pregnant.

(Actually, it is only 7+ months. It just seems like 13 ½ months since the last trimester has included summer.)

Since I am learning to live in the present much more these days (see the previous blog entitled Next) I’ve had the pleasure of observing what my son calls a nesting instinct.

I didn’t get to my mid-50’s without knowing that birds ‘nest’, but I honestly have never thought much about the more subtle ways that ladies who are expecting a baby might do the same (absent the trees and twigs).

According to Pregnancy Weekly, this instinct sets in around the 5th month of a pregnancy.

Their definition goes like this: “[Nesting involves] an uncontrollable urge to clean one’s house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.”

This, the article went on to say, allows the mom (who feels a little out of control in regards to what’s going on within her) to exercise a bit of control and embrace a sense of accomplishment toward the big day!

Makes sense.

One of the primary ways I’ve watched my sweet daughter-in-law demonstrate this natural instinct is in preparing the baby’s new room.

The room that was selected (or to which the assignment fell by default) was serving as an office, storage space, and pass-thru from one part of the house to another.

In the weeks I have been observing, Elena and Josh have literally transformed that space into a legitimate nursery for our little Benjamin. They’ve hung a door, painted, accessorized,… really those TV shows about Extreme Makeovers could learn a thing or two from them!!

BUT – before they could ready the room for the baby, they had to deal with the stuff that was already there (remember, there was an office, storage, and pass-thru before).

I think I have seen 3 distinct ways they have addressed all of this:

Some of the stuff was relocated.

They have a lovely family room/den surrounded by windows that look out on the backyard. They chose to shrink that space by one corner and create an office there. A workstation and file cabinet was discretely set so you don’t notice it unless you are looking for it. AND, best of all, the view from the office now is sweeping and inviting!

Some of the stuff was repurposed.

Some of the furniture in the room was given new assignments throughout the house… tables, lamps, that sort of thing.

Some of the stuff was removed.

This removal took two primary forms: some things were tossed and, when possible, some things were shared with friends!

FINALLY, MY CHANGE LESSON…

There is simply no room for that which is new, without dealing honestly with what is.

When we decided to move toward living full-time in a Motor Coach, we had to proactively downsize. There is no way to move a townhouse worth of stuff to a Motor Coach. A LOT has been removed. A few things have been repurposed (both for the Coach and for our 1-room at the kids place). Some other things have been relocated (to a storage unit from which it will likely be removed).

AN ADDITIONAL LESSON I’M LEARNING: When it comes to real transformation in my very soul, I cannot expect to embrace a radical new if I am not willing to create a nest for it to thrive in.

And, I cannot create such a soul nest without relocating some of my stuff, repurposing other stuff, and removing a lot of stuff from my life.

One more addendum for those of you who work in the Church world…

I would make the same argument… creating an incubator in which our Father might do a brand new thing will mean a willingness to lay open everything you do right now. Allow God’s Spirit to relocate some things, repurpose others, and remove anything He chooses to remove.

Simple. Not easy.

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