Rev's Revelations

by Pastor Katie Chullino

 

I read a story in which a professional cyclist was talking with a small crowd at a triathlon. A man in the crowd commented that he planned to buy a very expensive bike because the bike was so much lighter and "worth it." The professional responded, "If I were you, I wouldn't waste my money on a lighter bike. You'd be a lot better off if you just lost 10 or 20 pounds."

Harsh, right? Here's the thing, though: he's right.

 

For most of my ministry career, I have spent my summers biking to home and hospital visits. (Thanks, COVID-19 for messing that up this year.) Every summer, the first few weeks were miserable. I could barely huff it up the hills at altitude. But, after a couple of months, and subsequently a couple of pounds, I could always bike farther and longer. And, I did not need a new, lighter bike to do that.

The moral of the story is, "Buying new simply for the sake of new is always a dumb investment. Buying a new bike doesn't automatically transform you into a better rider. Buying new technology doesn't automatically transform you or your company...Technology is only valuable if it results in faster, cheaper, or better. If not, it just sucks up time and money that could be put to better use somewhere else. Look in the mirror. Determine what you should improve on your own. You can almost always do a lot better than you are with what you already have."

 

It is not uncommon to hear the opposite of this message in churches. We tell ourselves, our visitors and friends that the church is going to get better because, "We're getting a new pastor," or "We're hoping to get new members," or "We're going to get a better piano, or guitars, or drums. It'll be worth it." It's not uncommon to set our goals and aspirations based on what we don't have. With a lot of hope, we sell ourselves short, and we ignore the beauty of God's creation in us!

 

One thing that COVID-19 did not stop this year was our congregation's intent to do Strategic Planning. Since I started here, I have heard from members, "We need strategic planning, we need long-term planning, we need goals." And, I don't disagree! In May, a group of BLC members (who either volunteered or were recommended by council and staff) started reading a book called Power Surge: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Growing Church. We looked seriously at BLC, reviewing the Transition Report from 2019 and sharing personal stories about congregational life. That is just the beginning of this work.

 

In June, the Strategic Planning Team took that information and those memories and began drafting statements. The first was a list of our core beliefs, followed by our core values. As the month ends and we approach July, the team is looking at all we do at BLC and honing in on God's mission for us and our vision for the church. The team looks forward to sharing drafts of our core beliefs, core values, mission, and vision in the near future. (So, keep watching for updates!)

 

Eventually, we will have our goals, too. But they will not be things that sound good because they are new. They will not be the next best thing in the church market. They will be our goals. Things rooted in what we believe, what we value, God's mission for us, and our vision for the future. Our goals will not be about what we do not have but about growing out of what we do have.

 

What we are finding in this process is that what we have is You. You, beloved by God. You, created in God's Image. You, gifted with the gospel news. You, who serve people. You, who study and pray. Really, you make the church (there is no church without people) and you make the church better.

Peace,

Pastor Katie

 

Quotes from, "A Brutal Truth About Success That Few People Are Willing to Admit," Jeff Haden, accessed 6/18/20, https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/a-brutal-truth-about-success-that-few-people-are-w.html.

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