Thanks to everyone who helped to make our Lenten and Easter worship services so special. Hopefully, we have all grown in our faith as we experienced again the story of Jesus' great sacrifice for us. Christ is risen! Alleluia!
On March 17th, along with Pastor Mike and six other church members, I attended Western Region Leadership Days at Otterbein UMC. In the morning session, we heard Kay Kotan speak on her book "Gear Up! Nine Essential Processes for the Optimized Church". She likens the church to a car which must have all its "gears" working together efficiently to run the vehicle smoothly and effectively. She includes such chapters (Gears) as Relationship Building, Hospitality, Connection, Worship Design, and Congregational Care. A main reference referred to many times was "The church should be living out its mission to make new disciples of Jesus Christ."
How are we doing at making new disciples? Kay presented many ideas that could help us to work toward our mission, such as: conduct events for the community to reach new people (Not churchy things) events like sports activities, crafts, barbecues, etc. to build relationships. We should also think of those new to our church as guests, not visitors, and treat them as such. They should have the front parking spaces and the back pews!! We should also recognize the fact that no one size fits all worship style or experience and stop trying to be all things to all people. Her idea of worship is "Praising God, gaining a deeper understanding of God's word, and learning how to apply it to our everyday lives".
If anyone would like to read her book, I have my copy to lend out. We hope to discuss and implement some of the ideas she presented as they pertain to the "Gears" we need to get running smoothly at St. Andrews. In the afternoon I went to Rev. Linda Warehime's session on "What Can I Do?" - Helping Others on their Grief Journey. She offered many suggestions and thoughts on how best to help others when they have lost a loved one, sometimes just being there with them is the most appreciated. I also attended an afternoon session led by State Police Trooper Eichelberger on "Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event in the Church". We saw videos and learned of responses to these types of situations, such as #1-Avoid (Run), #2-Deny(Hide-Barricade), #3-Defend(Fight). The Trooper said that some speakers on this subject are willing to come to your church to check out the building and give their best suggestions in case this type of situation would occur. If there is enough interest, perhaps we could look into this. Overall, it was a very informative and thought provoking day!
Blessings to all,