Rethink with me…

10274101_10154059857320564_1345217590650502960_nI often tell people – publicly and privately – that I have the best job.  I feel deeply called into this work.  I am invited into important and significant moments in people’s lives.  I’m invited into painful spots.  I get to weep and rejoice with you.  It’s really just so incredible.  If I had to sum it up in another way: I get paid to point to hope. I get to point to God.

And, at times, it is difficult to find.  Sometimes other people point to it for me.  It’s often a group effort.  Sometimes it’s so plain I can hardly stand it.  Or obvious. Or beautiful. Or terrible.

Part of our lives together, these last few months, have involved talking about money.  It’s been a painful learning curve for me.  Public learning as a leader is not for the faint of heart.  But I will emphasize the word learning in that last sentence.  Because if I weren’t learning, that’d be a whole other, terrible thing.

Just as we’ve learned together that being church today is a whole new thing, so is sustaining a church.  In all the ways we’ve been re-imagining how to be church, the financial aspect has been left in the old school ways of thinking, and it’s showing.

So, in an effort to point to hope and to what God is doing, here is what I’ve learned:

I’ve learned…

  • Many have been hurt by some church in your lifetime. You’ve seen money misused and abused.  You get nervous when you hear me or others from River of Hope talk about money.  It’s mixed up with salvation and love somehow.  Sigh.
  • Some don’t think church and money mix. Or that you shouldn’t talk about money in church.
  • Sending a message of being “financially fine” doesn’t inspire additional giving.

I’ve also learned that

  • I’m going to have to talk about money more often to our gathered community.
  • AND won’t it be great when it’s in a “for the future, then we’ll…” dreamy kinda way, instead of this more panic-y, let’s close this gap way.
  • We’ll share ways that hands and feet and hearts and money are helping to make things happen.

We are certainly closing the gap but the up-coming cuts will hurt.  We need office space.  We need an administrator.  We need a place to worship and we need worship leadership.  No fluff. No building campaign. No guilt.

Come and learn more with me, will you?  We live just on the edge of the Mecca of incredible Lutheran thinkers.  And they are busy re-thinking church in about every way, shape, and form.  Rethinking Stewardship July 28-30.  Register here.  It’s the anti-conference. They get to the meat of the thing and then we get to chew on it.

Hope is shaking loose out of fearful places as people step forward to make things happen on their dime.  God is stirring us up to look to the future, about what’s next.  God is bringing new people into our congregation. God is calling new leaders to step up and serve.  Creative ideas are being dreamed. New small groups are forming.  Visitors continue to dip their toes into the river.