We have been at this new start gig for almost 4 years now. In that time we’ve tried lots of things and experimented with the form of our gatherings, the time, the place, and more. Sometimes it can feel like we’ve found the thing that works for us and it is easy to slip in to complacency. Part of our culture at SFC is to continue to try new things and to continue to find meaningful experiences of God. It’s good then that I am someone who gets bored, so that I have an internal impetus to change things up and we can keep experimenting and growing.
There is such a tension between stagnation and comfort in organizations. It is good to find the things that work and we should not abandon those things capriciously. It is dangerous to settle in to complacency with what works and then find yourself simply going through the motions. As we mature as a new start we find ourselves more and more in need to evaluate critically what we are doing so that we can keep on track with what God is calling us to be as a people.
This past Sunday we did something we had never done before, and it was wonderful! I took a particularly long lectionary reading from the gospel of John and broke it in to sections. I had people find a group to work with at the table where they were sitting. I gave a brief context to when the story took place and an overview of the narrative. Each group then got part of the scripture and had time to read the story and react to it through the lens of our lenten theme, making room for God. We then went through the story in order with each group reading their scripture, sharing their insights, and facilitating a discussion on the passage. We heard about the healing, the community reaction, 2 rounds of religious leader reaction, and finally Jesus’ response to them all. It was a very community based way for us to engage with this scripture and much more successful than we reading 41 verses and asking people to digest that in a conversation.
Sometimes the things we try are small, like a new way to engage the bible. Sometimes the new things we try are rather large. Always my job is to keep God at the forefront and continue to be a co-creator, forming and shaping the experiences of community so that we can all grow deeper in faith and understanding.