A few weeks ago, you probably received from me an email that was intended for a few people and instead got sent out to everyone on the church email list. I had forgotten to change an option on the signup disabling reminders. I was a victim of automation.
Automation can be a real time-saver, but there are those times when wrongly applied that it leads to a whole lot more work. One great example of automation gone awry is “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Disney’s Fantasia. Mickey the Sorcerer quickly learns what too much automation can do!
It’s no different for churches. We, too, can be on autopilot. Patterns are familiar and comfortable. We know what to expect and we generally prefer that to the unknown. Imagine your surprise if I sprung a five-hour worship service on you without notice. I suspect it would be one of my last ones among you! But throughout the Bible, God is often calling people to do a new thing.
Which is why it’s so important for us to have a time of communal reflection and discernment. Just as church leadership is evaluating our building, it’s strengths and limitations about which we perhaps were only dimly aware if they didn’t affect us personally. We also need to consider the stories regarding our life together. What is working well; where might we have drifted off-course; where is God calling us now, in 2019?
I hope that you will take the opportunity to prayerfully engage in this work of discernment with us. It won’t be automatic, but we keep our faith in God who has brought us safe so far through many dangers, toils, and snares over our 130 years. Glory to our still-guiding God!