What Will September Bring?

I am very leery of giving anyone another “to-do” to add to their list, so please don’t read the following in that light.  Consider it an invitation to step into something that might do you some good.

It seems like we are getting ready for the next “normal” in the fall.  Maybe.  Of course, the minute I hit send on this something or everything could change.  I get that, but as of right now, it seems like September is being treated like the start of the next chapter, particularly in church world.

I know the big questions are out there.  What will church need to look like moving forward?  What’s the new scorecard we are playing with?  What’s working and what isn’t?  What do we need to do in order to reach people or stay open or be effective or however you are asking it?

Well, I do know moving forward church will still need to figure out how to make disciples, how to love and serve all people, how to worship and fellowship, and how to reach out beyond the walls of the building and impact the surrounding community for the Kingdom.  Oh, and we probably need to figure out how to engage the folks online in these areas.

As important as the questions about what we should be doing as a church are, it may be the wrong place to start.  I think it would be good for us to wrestle through the “what kind of people do we need to be as the church” question first.  Because we will need a solid handle on that in order to be ready to answer the other questions and in order to step into the next chapter around September.

So what kind of people do we need to be?  Glad you asked.  Here are some basic ideas along with a suggestion on how to work on these.  Remember, these are for you and me, no just the pastor and board, not them over there, and not that person who disagrees with me.  It’s for you and me.  Let’s worry about us and being the kind of people God called us to be.

We need to be:

  • As close to God as we can be. I know this goes without saying, but I am saying it.  Take some time this summer to pursue a deeper relationship with your Heavenly Father.  Get out in creation and connect with the Creator.  Practice and maintain the discipline of Sabbath.  Find a partner or partners and talk through Scripture and issues together, not to argue but to gain understanding.  Don’t just read Scripture – apply it.  Don’t just talk when you pray – listen.
  • We have some work to do in this next chapter, and many of us aren’t real good at resting, but we need to.  We need to care for ourselves and summer may give us the opportunity to do that.  Find things that nourish your soul and bring you joy and do them.  Take some time off.  Read a book that has nothing to do with your work.  Walk.  Be outside.  Connect with friends.  Nap.
  • Committed to unity. Life would be easier if everyone agreed with me on everything, but they don’t.  Yet I am still called to love, serve and do life with them, so I need to be gracious.  I need to listen to understand and not to try and win arguments.  I need to find where we do agree and where we can use that for Kingdom purposes.  I need to participate in fellowship and practice hospitality.  That means having coffee or hosting a BBQ and getting to know people as people – not as the position they have on one issue.  I don’t always have to be right.  I don’t always have to win.  I don’t always have to have it my way.  I need to love people, and I can’t do that well until I know them.

That feels like enough for now.  Talk this through with God and others.  Use the “slower” time of summer to get yourself ready for what God has next.  Enjoy God and His people.

Have a good summer everyone.

Marc McAlister
Director of Leadership Development and Church Health
Free Methodist Church in Canada