My favorite salon recently convinced me to invest in peptides. Specifically, I have been persuaded to apply Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4 to my face in order to stimulate my fibroblasts to rebuild my extra-cellular matrix. Whatever.
Peptides have been an intentional part of my life for two weeks now and the long term impact has yet to be seen. But I’m feeling hopeful about peptides and – for now – I’m game.
I have also learned in my peptide research that “the hype is . . . that there is one magic ingredient or group of ingredients that is the anti-aging answer. It’s simply not true. There is no single solution for all the signs of aging—though we admit it would be great if it was really that simple.” In other words, peptides will not make my skin look like I’m twenty. At best it will make my almost sixty-year old skin look like healthy sixty-year old skin. That works for me.
Of course I’m going to connect this to Church because that’s what I do.
It occurs to me that there is no one program, no single model, no perfect structure, no unique path that will guarantee Church Health. What works in my church will not work in yours.
Context is everything. And in order to discern what our context actually is, we need to ask questions, develop relationships, become learners. We cannot count on one magic ingredient.
What doesn’t work:
- Copying what seems to be the recipe for success in another congregation/institution/community.
- Quick fixes.
- Hiring consultants who come in with a tool box and assumptions about who we are, but no desire to learn who we really are. (See #2)
- Calling a pastor who will save the day/make it all better/”bring in the young families“
There is no perfect pastor who will turn everything around anymore than there is a perfect peptide that will turn the process of aging around. What worked 20 years ago doesn’t work anymore. Heck – what worked five years ago doesn’t work anymore. That’s a good thing. We are learning all the time about new ways to be the Church because the Spirit is still moving.
I was talking with a pastor yesterday and as she shared the amazing things happening in and around her congregation, her words are joyfully seared into my soul: “God wants so much more for us than most of our churches realize.” Yes.
But we only figure out where God is leading us by trying lots of things and seeing what works for here and now in our particular time and place. Maybe it’s the organizational equivalent of a peptide. Or maybe it’s something else.
The bottom line is that I – Jan Edmiston – am aging and that’s a normal and lovely thing. Whether I use peptides or not, I will continue to age. But I’d like to age gracefully and in ways that please my Maker.
The Church of Jesus Christ is also aging. Parts die off. Other parts are new and growing. It’s a normal and lovely thing. How can we be the Church that ages gracefully and seeks to please our Maker? I have so many ideas about this.
Image of Hydration Serum with Peptides by Lucrece. I have no idea if this stuff works.