Friday, October 15, 2010

Effective idealism…

Last Saturday was my birthday, and I want to thank you for your birthday cards and well wishes! I received some at the church, others somehow made it to my home, despite the fact they were all addressed to the same wrong address. Which was rather humorous. To clarify, my address is 3711 Joppa Ave. S, not 3771. Unless you’re letter disagrees with my sermons, then send it to…well, I guess I’ll take those too. In any event, it was a fun birthday, especially because of the support of great people like you.

Being now almost 30 (insert disingenuous ‘old man’ joke here), I reflected this week on my current life situation, and how different it is from anything I imagined in my youth. I suspect I’m not the only one. My earliest memories of ‘projecting my ideal future’ involve me playing tight end for the Denver Broncos at age 29, or perhaps small forward for the Denver Nuggets. Alas, despite conventional wisdom to the contrary, those dreams were rather fanciful. But they changed at some point, and I then imagined I’d spend my twenties traveling the world, digging up dinosaur bones. Of course, that was before I knew that, if I’d gone that route, I would’ve likely still been in school at 30!

But again, my idealized future changed, and the older I got, the more realistic my dreams became. Or at least, I began to plan intermediate, measurable steps that would take me there, rather than just hopes and prayers. So I soon decided to become a brain surgeon, which, I admit, was still a reach. But I believed I could do it, and studied hard, and always took more science courses than required, sooner then required (ask me about the funny story of being the only freshman in biology class, when the teacher made a joke about genetics, my blue eyes and the mailman…). And when that ideal future changed, to the ministry path I’m currently on, I made the appropriate change in class schedules, college major and salary expectations. Still, even then, I couldn’t have imagined where I’d be now- married to a wonderful woman, serving a great church and living in Minnesota. Life takes you down unexpected paths, which sometimes exceed expectations.

Anyway, all that is prelude to the point of today’s letter, which is trying to convince you to take a survey for the Worship Team. As you might know, our Worship Team has spent the past year working very hard to help make our church’s fundamental activity as rich and moving as possible. Slowly but surely, we’re discerning an ideal future for our worship culture that is constantly creative, open, multicultural and familiar, all at the same time! That’s quite a task, and will take many months, even years. But we believe worship is so important, it’s worth the patience and devotion these wonderful people are giving it. Be sure to thank them, when you can, and especially our Leader, Martha Francis.

But as I discovered about effective dreaming, the older I became, it works best if you identify intermediate steps in the process, and then regularly assess your progress toward those goals. Which is just a wordy way of saying, “Make sure what you’re doing is worth it.” Hence our survey. We’ve tried some new things in recent months during worship, related to these goals for the future, and we’d like your feedback. After all, effective changes in our worship culture only matter if our fellow worshippers- members and guests- feel closer to God, each other and their neighbors as a result. So we’ll include some printed surveys in our bulletins over the next few Sundays, and have created an internet version which you can complete by clicking this link, if that’s easiest for you. All responses are confidential, so please be honest. And whatever your response, I hope you trust that Plymouth Creek’s worship leadership- the Team members, Jeremae and myself- consider serving you in this fashion, and exploring the power of God’s presence with you, among our greatest gifts. We’ve got a bright future together, I believe, wherever God feels fit to lead us!

Grace and Peace,

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