Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The List

Right now I am working on a lot of ministry items, maybe too many (I think, secretly, sometimes). There is one that I think is most important to our future as a congregation, but all of them have some place in my heart.

1. The Outreach Coordinator and I are planning a Young Couples' Dinner on September 30. We're an older congregation, but could find 9 young couples to invite ... and 4 of them have already RSVP'd! This is close to my heart because it all started with two of the couples. I know them pretty well, and I have been thinking for awhile, "I wish I could invite them both over for dinner. They have so much in common." We just broadened the vision.

2. First annual (I hope) Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, October 7. Pray for good weather.

3. I am leading an Adult Forum on "How to Study the Bible" on October 14th. (Boy, I almost forgot that)

4. Weddings on September 29, October 12, and November 3 (two off-site).

5. We are planning a Congregational Inreach for the month of October and into November. We have done congregational inreaches on a few other occasions. I believe they are great opportunities to deepen our relationships with one another in our congregations. A few years ago we had an inreach and trained 50 congregation members to be "visitors." They take an evening training where they learn to do a "one to one" visit, which is not an interview with a set of standard questions, but a natural conversation where the visitor really tries to listen for the most important stories the person has to share, their interests, passions and concerns. Sometimes we find out about particular struggles people are going through, but it's not a pastoral care visit. We often find out interesting things about a person's passions, interests, and history. We also find out what has drawn the person to our congregation, what they are proud of, what they wish for. I believe they are holy conversations. It is so rare that we allow ourselves to "go deep" with one another.

In preparing for the Inreach, I re-read Paul's 1st Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 12. He talks about the church as a body, with individual gifts and abilities (eyes, ears, feet, hands), but also a need for interdependence. They exist, as a body does, to be in relationship with each other. They function not for their own good, but for the good of the whole body. They have each been given gifts, but they are for the "common good", Paul says. I think we have lost this notion, both in the church, and in our wider communities. Instead, we think of ourselves as a collection of individuals. It's not that I think that (especially church) people are selfish. I know a lot of people who are going the extra mile for family, or friends. But I'm not sure that most of us have the sense that we are bound to each other, as the image of the body of Christ would suggest.

These one to one conversations, I pray, will strengthen our ties to each other, and also help us to envision what the future of our congregation will be.

18 comments:

kim-d said...

All of those things sound wonderful. I need--NEED--to get back on track. I just located my offering envelopes, so maybe that will help. I'm also going to make it to the Saturday night service this coming Saturday just in case I can't make it out of bed in time for 8:45 Sunday. I am so happy to be back in your Bible study; I love that hour, and I am learning from it. I definitely want to go to your Adult Forum; looking forward to that. Your efforts are appreciated.

more cows than people said...

sounds a bit like my life right now- only a bit more upbeat!

sending you love during this FULL season.

Barbara B. said...

diane, it sounds like you are doing really wonderful things!

mompriest said...

really sounds like a good plan for connecting on all levels...

FranIAm said...

This sounds so great- so much good stuff there.

I am especially interested in your inreach though.

I send prayful thoughts for the bounty of the holy spirit for you all.

Katherine E. said...

Love your thoughts on Inreach, Diane. Thanks for sharing!

lj said...

What a great pastor you are. Blessings on all of these endeavors. (Lots of weddings!)

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

mmmm... here's my quote of the week, well last week at council no less... "pastor are we really supposed to read the bible?"

now i ask you can i please send him to your adult forum?

Diane said...

fran, I wish more people in my church were interested in the one to one!

Mrs. M said...

HALLELUJAH! to the Young Couples Dinner. I would love that.

Jiff said...

Diane, these are all great, great things that are happening.
You have a great well from which to draw!
Love the inreach ideas....

Rowan The Dog said...

Well, I especially like the blessing of the animals idea. I like being blessed, I'll tell you what.

Love,

Rowan

Singing Owl said...

rbdgojSounds good to me. Will you let me know how the blessing of animals goes? I'm kind of interested, but wouldn't know where to start. Um...with animals? Yep, I got that part.
;-)

Singing Owl said...

no, not secret code at the beginning of that

sorry

Yolanda said...

I wish I lived closer so I could attend some of these events.My prayers are with you.

FranIAm said...

I don't know Diane, with you around I could be following in the footsteps of another Catholic... What was his name, Martin... begins with an L...?

LOL!

Its a good thing I don't live in Minnesota and could attend your services, or this might actually happen!

Diane said...

well fran we are the only Lutheran chrch I know of where there are kneelers, and we have communion every week. (I do know a few other Lutheran churches with weekly communion). sometime I'll tell the story about why our church has kneelers.

zorra said...

The young couples' dinner sounds great, and I hope it will lead to some closer friendships. Many years ago we started a young couples' fellowship with another couple at our church, and the friendships we made there have survived over twenty years and many, many miles. I wish the same for your young couples.