The last few months have been an interesting personal journey for me as members of both mine and my husband's families have gone through huge personal crisis, sickness and in the case of a few of them, facing the end of their lives. It has been a motherload, all coming at once. Included in this mix I am expecting my first grandchildren, twins, due in August, with my daughter-in-law having been flat on her back in a hospital bed since late May for the duration of her pregnancy. As life ends for a few of my beloved family new life is springing forth. Transitions. Life is all about moving forward and transitioning to each new day and what life has in store for that 24 hours.
I step back and look at our church as it ages. I love the Episcopal Church, but it is getting very gray around the edges. We haven't transitioned well into the 21st century in America. I believe we have been complacent, caring too much about the survival of our institution and not enough about the personal, powerful transformation of lives. It has been interesting to watch a sense of urgency surface amongst congregations around the 'need for new members'. This is precisely the problem. The focus should be on the power to change lives, the desire of persons to find our congregations to be incubators for the development of the faith and vehicles for sending Christians out into the world to witness in word and deed to the glory, grace of love of God.
I have seen us crack the window, to let a little bit of the Holy Spirit blow through our church to release this revelation. Funny how this has to be re-learned with every new generation. Our church has a shelf life of a couple of generations left in terms of being large enough to have an impact. It isn't too late if we will recognize our true mission and help the people in the pews understand what the work of the church really is. That it isn't so much about us, but a world hungry for Good News and transformation. As missionary leaders, God calls us to lead the way, set the course, fearlessly tell the story and not be afraid. We are called to steer our churches out into unchartered territory. Talk about transitions! It is a challenging but eternally powerful mission. Let's strive to better impact our generation for the sake of the Kingdom.