What’s the dominant narrative in your congregation? When you talk about your church’s future, what is the general tone of that conversation? What is the impression that people who are not members of your church have of you, or what vibe do they pick up on if they visit?
In today’s world where challenges to the church are indeed many, it can be easy to fall into the abyss of despair, worry, grief, and scarcity thinking. But if that’s the sum total of the conversations you’re having, it’s time to do something about that.
This year’s Annual Meeting is designed to help us all change the narrative from one of gloom and doom to one of recognizing the gifts and opportunities we have in front of us. All of our churches, of every size and in every location, have things worth celebrating. But sometimes we’re more adept at seeing what we lack rather than recognizing what’s possible. The vitality of our congregations isn’t merely about the number of bodies that sit in our pews on a Sunday morning. It’s about the ways we make a difference in our communities, the witness we offer the world, the love we share with others, the faith that transforms lives. Vitality is about utilizing whatever gifts we have, large and small, for the profound good of others.
I hope you’ll be with us this weekend to think together about what vitality might look like where you are. What are the possibilities that lay before you? How can you embrace God’s promise and trust in a future filled with hope? Even if you can’t be with us at our Annual Meeting, I invite you and your congregation to think about where you are experiencing new life, or where God may be calling you to embrace fresh possibility.
As we like to say in the United Church of Christ: “God is still speaking”. Now let’s be sure we’re listening!
Your partner in service,
Reverend Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister