Friday, January 1, 2010

With you always…

This time last year, we initiated an experiment in ‘doing church differently,’ which I think is worth repeating. The idea came from a pastor who once told me about something interesting his church did. Like all good ideas, this needed to be stolen. So we stole it. I’m referring, you might’ve guessed, to 2009’s Congregational Theme- “A Table Before Me: God’s Open-Armed Adventure.” In diverse ways, from educational activities to the website to mission work to a sermon (or twenty), that theme weaved its way through our church life. 2009 was an adventurous year! We tried new things, thought challenging thoughts, sparked fresh ideas- some of which we implemented, some of which we didn’t. Most of all, I think we learned many important things about God, each other and ourselves.

But while the adventure continues, it must change. Indeed, that’s a fundamental fact about God’s open-armed adventure- change is always happening, whether we notice it or not. That’s true for churches as much as for nature or Brett Favre’s retirement ambitions. So we’re going to build on last year’s successes, while venturing out into a whole new direction. In other words, during 2010, Plymouth Creek will continue to experiment with using a Congregational Theme to direct and focus our life together, but with a new year comes another theme. And your 2010 Congregational Theme is… (cue the drum roll, and the triumphant trumpet music)-

Go to All Peoples: Transforming Community with Disciples

Does it seem like there’s A LOT going on in that phrase? I hope so. The plan is to spend all year excavating, exploring and being formed by the many ideas this theme can ignite. But before we begin, I want to highlight three things, which form the core of what I hope we achieve this year together:

1. 2010 will not be about us! Our theme verses are Matthew 28:19-20, known by many as “The Great Commandment.” The theme begins like the verses do, though “Go to All Peoples” is my translation, rather than the typical, “Go, therefore, and make…” By 2011, we’ll know much more about this important calling, and especially how to do it in ways faithful to our beliefs about inclusivity, free thought and respect for non-Christian religious practices. Still, the goal will be to look outward, constantly, and to do so together.
2. That begins by reigniting our innate love for community! Something PCCC loves to do is love each other, and have fun together. Indeed, many of you came to this church because someone invited you to have fun and establish relationships with other church members. And the conviction of Jesus is that building intimate community transforms lives. So to kick things off, I’m preaching a 2nd annual Cinema Sermon Series for four consecutive Sundays, starting January 17. Each sermon will use a different movie as its primary ‘text.’ The day before each sermon (Saturday afternoon- 3 PM), everyone and their friends are invited to watch that movie in our Sanctuary. If you can’t make it, there’s a schedule elsewhere in this newsletter telling which movie will be used for which Sunday.
3. Our community is unique: We are Disciples of Christ! And it’s my deep conviction that the Disciples of Christ way of practicing faith has potential to transform our broader community in wonderful ways if we’re willing and able to be and share that good news. So all year long, we’ll learn more about our rich and goodly heritage, especially how the Disciples of Christ message is so relevant and important for this 21st-century world. One way YOU can help embody this message is to write “This I Believe” statements, like the one later in this newsletter. Email me, or slip yours under my door, unsigned, if you prefer.

You should know I truly believe 2010 will be monumental for Plymouth Creek Christian Church. Transformative, even. That will take effort, energy, creativity and prayer. But we have that stuff, and more besides. We have Jesus’ Table in our midst, a dynamic and inspiring piece of furniture that’s open to everybody. In 2010, let’s make sure they know it. In all things,

Grace and Peace,

No comments:

Post a Comment