Pastor's Note | Monday, April 22nd1
It's no surprise that our world is changing rapidly. Among the effects of rapid social change is the fact that the Christian church is no longer widely appreciated, understood, and influential in our culture. Add to this mix all the uncertainty that comes from an economic recession, on-going wars and threats, of aggression, and acts of terrorism such as the recent bombings in Boston, and we can be left with feelings of anxiety, loss, and discouragement.
At a recent Pastors' Conference I was reminded how the church is experiencing much of what the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition experienced. After many months of grueling effort to forge their way up the Missouri River the explorers reached its starting point on the heights of a massive mountain. They climbed to the top expecting to see the Pacific Ocean just beyond. Instead they stood at the summit and viewed the massive and seemingly impassable Rocky Mountain range.
Finding themselves in this situation meant they were in totally uncharted territory. They had to face the realization that they could no longer continue the journey by canoeing and hiking over level ground. They had to become mountaineers. They had to learn new skills. They had to try things they never tried before. They could not default to their past.
We are very much like the Lewis and Clark explorers. We face a new cultural context in which we are called to herald the good news of God's life-transforming grace, to invite others to trust in Jesus, and to make disciples who connect with God, grow in faith, and serve in love. But this calls for new attitudes about what it means to be a church, new competencies, and great courage to forge ahead into uncharted territory.
This new reality may be challenging and stress-producing. But, as we journey into the future we remain a congregation that is grounded in the "Solas" of the Reformation - Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, God's Glory Alone. We remain confident that the risen Lord Jesus is building the Kingdom of God. We continue to be rooted in a vital and growing faith. And, perhaps most importantly, we continue our journey with the guidance and indwelling power of God's Holy Spirit.
With this kind of foundation we can boldly develop new competencies, identify the denominational context that best helps us live out our calling, find new ways of communicating the gospel, employ new ideas that help people become fully committed disciples of Jesus, and significantly bless our community. I am enthused about the journey we are on together.