I would love to say that most of our institutional spiritual communities are very brave, but I’m not sure I believe that. (That’s Southern Speak for I don’t believe that.) It’s understandable that most of our congregations – especially those under a membership of 150 – find themselves in survival/scared mode.
God makes us brave. A sure awareness of the Holy Spirit fills us, not only with a peace that passes all understanding, but also with a confidence beyond all understanding. And these are the perfect days to call on God to make our congregations courageous.
This is what a courageous church looks like:
- They call the Pastor that the Holy Spirit tells them to call, even if she/he doesn’t look like a) the typical pastor and/or b) the kind of pastor who has always served their congregation. In other words: No More Pulpit Candy.
- They have The Conversation about doing something drastic about their worship space: remove pews? shift seating arrangement? sell the @&!x# building?
- They encourage/implore/require their pastor to spend more time in the community than in the church building.
- They come together ready to learn how to be deployed to serve a broken community, rather than gathering to be taken care of themselves.
- They stick their lives into other people’s crazy. They are willing to sit with the chemo patient, eat lunch with the homeless person, listen to the illiterate child learn to read, go with the arrested kid to the police station.
- The last things on their minds are: I need a nice venue for my funeral/my daughter’s wedding/my grandchild’s baptism.
What else would you add to this list on a lovely Monday morning?
Image is of the building where one of the most courageous churches I know gathers for worship in Chicago.