~ By Pastor William Bills
I understand most of our members and friends attend our church precisely because they like what happens here. These people support our church with time, talents, monetary and other gifts because they like what happens here. The longer we are a part of a congregation, the more affinity we develop for traditions, special events, worship services, music, programs and people. We wouldn’t keep coming back if we didn’t like what happens here. But when our priority becomes only what prefer we may lose contact with our mission field.
This is my fifth year working with the Vital Church Initiative (VCI). About two and a half years ago, I began asking people if they thought VCI was fun for me. People were coming with concerns and questions (even complaints!) about VCI and the prospect of change. It occurred to me that perhaps they thought I was enjoying causing them some discomfort. So I decided to start reminding people that change isn’t easy for those who lead, either. My goal in VCI isn’t to make anybody’s life difficult. My goal is to be faithful. My goal is to do the best thing for the church for the long-term. My goal is to be faithful to my call even if that makes some people uncomfortable. Sometimes being faithful means doing new things with new people in new ways. Being faithful requires saying yes when it would be more comfortable to say no.
I hope you will say yes to “Just Say, Yes!” “Just Say, Yes!” is a six-week study beginning the week of January 22. It covers the ways that churches may say no to their mission field by resisting new things, focusing on rules, policies, buildings, worship styles and tradition. “Just Say, Yes!” demonstrates that churches have other options. Churches can give people permission to try new things. Churches can encourage leaders to be bold in giving permission for new ministries and programs. “Just Say, Yes!” challenges faithful people to change their attitudes, behaviors and assumptions in order to better serve their mission field. Such changes are not easy. Nor are they fun. But they help congregations connect with their changing mission fields in new ways.
I hope you will say yes to “Just Say, Yes!” This study and discussion might open our congregation up to new possibilities. It might help us become more effective in reaching people around us. It might make us even more faithful in our ministry to our community. It could end up being more fun than you imagine.