The Act of Noticing

A couple years ago, I walked downstairs into my basement to take a shower. On the last step, before I reached for the light switch, I stepped into an inch of water. The water heater had blown a hole and flooded the basement. After shutting off the water, draining what we could, and vacuuming up the puddles, my wife Morgan and I had several conversations about what to do next. There were two options.

  1. Clean up the mess, fix the damage, and get things back into place as best we could.
  2. Renovate the basement.

Option two was really tempting because the carpet was old, the furniture was worn, and the shower was small and cramped. For years, we had dreamed about what this space could be, and how we could redesign it to function better.

In the end, we settled on option one. It wasn’t our house so investing in it didn’t feel wise, and our resources at the time wouldn’t allow us to realise our dream. We did, however, take the opportunity to do a deep clean of everything.  The crisis presented a good time to take on some extra work to make our space better than it was.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”.  – Winston Churchill –

It is a cliche quote, but I think it’s pretty appropriate for us right now. Before we get too eager to go back to the way things were, it’s wise to take an honest look at how good or maybe not so good things were. Maybe you have a dream of the way things could work better in your church or how your church could reach out to your community better, but it requires more work and effort beyond than the church has capacity for. This may be the perfect time to make some of those changes, to try something new, and to build from the ground up.  It may also time to set down some things down that are no longer serving the church or community, but no one knew how to let them go.

Big changes do come at a cost. That cost could be financial, material, relational, and so on. Each of us will have to evaluate how much we’re willing to risk for a big change. Not every dream will be realised and that’s okay too. If all you do is a thorough evaluation of everything your church is doing and you change nothing, it’s a good time to look around, even if you don’t get to the deep cleaning or full renovation. Sometimes the act of noticing is just enough for now.

By Seth Freeman

Regional Coach and Co-Pastor Hampton Free Methodist Church