Let anyone with ears: Listen!*

Update April 29, 2020 

Let those of you with ears, listen!*

I’ve heard congregations who disliked change – so much they used to complain if a hymn was played at a new tempo – comment that online worship is “tremendous.”

If that ain’t God – well then, we have nothing to talk about.

I’ve seen congregations so committed to their neighbors that they made major changes from the way they’d always done thing to figure out how they could continue to feed folks as safely as possible.

If that ain’t God – well then, we have nothing to talk about.

We need to throw out that old joke about Lutherans changing a light bulb – it just isn’t true!  God is doing a new thing and you are seeing it! You are hearing it! And you are joining in!

We started this conversation a week or so ago, and three of you took the time to add to our conversation! Thank you!! Let’s keep it going.  Spend some time reading through the table below and let it inspire you to see and hear what God is doing in your congregation.  What do you see?  I invite you to step back and reflect. What are you seeing? What are you hearing?

I’ve developed the worksheet below to guide our reflection. The initial question is:

What have you noticed about your congregation’s response to this time of COVID-19? What are you seeing in, or hearing from your congregation?

Once you’ve thought of something, move through the follow up questions:

-What does this response indicate your congregation treasures/values?

-What possibilities might God open-up if you lead your congregation to pursue the core value or behavior revealed in this response to COVID-19 after the shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted?

-What are the first steps you need to take?  Who will take them? When? How?

The examples below are things that folks contributed last week. The worksheet organizes our thoughts into the three relationships a vital church sustains: Love for God, love for one another and love for neighbor.

Please respond to this in the comments below. I’ll update the chart next week with your input.

Yours in the mission of God in every season

Marj

 

April 20, 2020 

Jesus gives us ears to hear and eyes to see. Let’s use them to see where God is at work in this time of COVID-19. There is grief and loss, and there is creativity and joy.  I’m amazed at the new ways our congregations are expressing their faith. God is doing a new thing through you! I know you can see it, so let’s capture it in words.

I invite you to step back and reflect. What are you seeing? What are you hearing? I’ve developed the worksheet below to guide our reflection. The initial question is:

What have you noticed about your congregation’s response to this time of COVID-19? What are you seeing in, or hearing from your congregation?

Once you’ve thought of something, move through the follow up questions:

What does this response indicate your congregation treasures/values?

What possibilities might God open-up if you lead your congregation to pursue the core value or behavior revealed in this response to COVID-19 after the shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted?

What are the first steps you need to take?  Who will take them? When? How?

The examples I’ve put below are real – I didn’t make these up! This is what I’m seeing and hearing, and this is what I think building on these things could mean for God’s church!  The worksheet will help us organize our thoughts into the three relationships a vital church sustains: Love for God, love for one another and love for neighbor.

Download Worksheet Here

What are you seeing? What are you hearing?  What do you think God can do with that?

Please respond to this in the comments below. I’ll update the chart weekly with your input.

Your in the mission of God in every season

Marj

*Matthew 13:9

Comments(7)

  1. Linda Griffith says

    Love for God
    We have continued to worship through synod worship, emailed to each member, as well as sermons and music prepared by Pastor Bowen and Betsi Freeman, also emailed to each member. Pastor and Betsi delivered palm fronds and bulletins to each member before Holy Week. On Holy Saturday, we had a Zoom Easter vigil, attended by about 14 people.
    This reveals the core value that God is worthy . . . of our time, worship and praise.
    Building on this post-Covid could ground us in our purpose to love and serve God.
    Next steps: In addition to traditional worship, we could continue to use technology to share with other churches in the parish and expand our worship into the community.

    Love for each other
    We have had weekly emails. People who do not have email have been called. We have a regular Wednesday Zoom Prayer meeting. We have continued our Adult Forum class through Zoom, with time to chat afterward. We have continued children’s Sunday school through email. Members have been calling and keeping in touch with each other.
    This reveals the core value that we are a community, the body of Christ.
    Building on this post-Covid could help us strengthen our midweek contact with each other and encourage us to visit each other more.
    Next steps: an in-person midweek prayer meeting? home Bible studies?

    Love for Neighbor
    We have kept our pre-school open. We have continued our food pantry. In addition, we have made our Friendship Hall available to Winds of Hope, to store food to be distributed to those in need. We have continued our monthly giving tree. This months recipient is God’s Barnyard, and in the past we have helped with clothes and food and hygiene supplies to various groups serving those experiencing poverty and homelessness, including Hope of the Valley and Lutheran Social Services. Church council has discussed opening our facilities to groups, such as the Boy Scouts. We have expanded our use of our website and social media.
    This reveals the core value that we show our love for Christ by loving our neighbor and providing for needs in our community and around the world
    Building on this post-Covid could encourage us to invite more people in to our facility and to go our in the neighborhood
    Next steps: We could continue to host music programs, movie nights, game nights and National Night Out. We could invite groups to use our facilities, such as the Boy Scout troop and an after school group that needs a place to meet. Tutoring? ESL classes? Spanish classes? We could expand our use of social media and visit neighbors in person.
    We could go back to distributing hygiene packets and snacks to homeless in the park.

  2. Marjorie Funk-Phil says

    Thanks Linda! I love how you are thinking this through. All Saints commitment to love God, one another and their neighbors remains strong despite the pandemic! I hope you will continue to build on these core values as we go through this season and into the next.

  3. Amy Beveridge says

    Like many, I am working on two fronts — supporting my congregation and supporting my family at home. My daughter and I have started a joint project to talk about the kinds of things we are navigating here, taking advantage of her newfound interest in editing videos. It’s also a way my congregation can stay in touch with me — we do audio services only on Sundays, this way they can have a visual connection. Part of this little home project is to glean wisdom from the current moment — to not let it pass by without seeing the subtle work of the Spirit starting new beginnings. So below I have links to my vlog as well as a beautiful new release from The Work of the People relating to your questions of what will we carry into the future, and then an article that lays out our likely next year + and calls us as leaders to realism and hope. Thank you for posting this — I look forward to working through some of these questions with our congregational leaders when a good moment comes to do so. Peace, Pr. Amy (Bethel -Templeton)

    https://thegodjournals.com/vlogs-art-and-ramblings

    https://www.theworkofthepeople.com/praise-song-for-the-pandemic

    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/pandemic-summer-coronavirus-reopening-back-normal/609940/

  4. Julie Jacks says

    1. Love for God….Pastor Ken has a daily prayer zoom call that many of us are part of, thanking God for things and asking him to help those in need especially. WE also have a online service on Sunday. Another member of our church posts a wonderful devotion every day that has brought us closer to God and given us much encouragement and hope.
    2. Love for One Another….we immediately starting checking on all our seniors/high risk folks, and have been keeping tabs on them through phone calls, cards, soup/food deliveries, etc.

    3. Love for Neighbor…….one of our members coordinates a fleece blanket ministry every winter. We are expanding on this to provide our love/blankets to many more people in the church, school/preschool, community, First Lutheran Inglewood/our sister church, etc.We are also going to “adopt a local restaurant” each week and encourage our church to order meals from them.We are a sister congregation with El Salvador who is experiencing a horrific hunger crisis. We are jumping into action to help provide funds for them, and of course, are praying with them, too.Our sister church is First Lutheran Inglewood, and their community is suffering worse than ever. WE are providing food, clothing and money to them.We support Family Promise of the South Bay, who cares for local homeless children and their families…we are stepping up our donations to them, too.We just heard that Pueblo de Dios church in our synod has a mask sale fund raiser to help 4 women who have lost their jobs and have no support.We are basically jumping in to help wherever God calls us.
    It is overwhelming to see the power of God in action during this pandemic.sending you much love and prayers, Julie

    • Marjorie Funk-Pihl says

      Thanks Pastor Amy! I love the way you think—and how you listen and see — God’s new beginnings. The way we respond to this situation reveals much about our core values, and fault lines. I want to explore that more in this blog.
      Peace
      Marj

  5. Diane Schmidt says

    Insistence: We are trying hard to begin drive through communion at least twice a month. We continue to offer live facebook services and links to synod services. Core value is Christ is our center and we need to be reminded on a regular ( weekly) basis to self correct. Post Covid, our commitment to worship will remind us that all forms of worship are honored. First steps: get all players on board and implement.

    Love one another- We have started a Hope lending pantry for all people of Hope to get non perishable groceries at no cost. Members are stocking and maintaining the cupboard and letting members into the church to get what they need. Core value- Care for each other/neighbor, Post Coivd – continue the ministry of service to each other. First steps: keep it going, already established.

  6. Marjorie Funk-Pihl says

    Thank you Diane!! The Insistence and Persistence the people of Hope are showing is evidence that your core value is moving your to action! YAY!! I love what you say that the Sacrament helps us self-correct — re-centers us. I might say that it isn’t our self that corrects at all — but God through the gift of faith.

Post a comment

Book your tickets