Write a vision, and make it plain upon a tablet
so that a runner can read it.
There is still a vision for the appointed time;
it testifies to the end;
it does not deceive.
If it delays, wait for it;
for it is surely coming; it will not be late.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 (CEB)
People of Hope,
Several years ago, Lutheran Church of Hope did the important work of discerning a new mission statement. What was God calling this particular body of Christ to be? Why are we here? From this discernment grew our mission statement: Drawn together by God, Celebrating Grace, Serving All.
Mission statements help us articulate what calling God has set on our collective hearts. Our mission statement helps us ask, whenever faced with decisions or new opportunities, is this a part of our mission? Are we being drawn together by God for a particular purpose? Are we celebrating grace through that purpose? Is it in service to all people?
Writing a statement helps us begin to envision the activity God is doing in us, through us and around us. We have already seen this activity in our congregation and have been given vision for it! But I also know that there is always more to discover. There is even more to the vision God has for Lutheran Church of Hope, and we are invited into a process of discerning that vision.
Our theme for this year has been: Wait. Hope. Renew. So much has been disrupted all around us during this pandemic that we may feel uncertain about our future, as individuals and as a congregation. Habakkuk reminds us that if a vision of the Lord delays, we must wait for it. Even in this, we are invited to wait, hope and be renewed. I see the seeds of God’s vision all around us, and I encourage you to pray for these seeds and be a part of nurturing them.
Our council has committed to reading together, “Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church Right Where You Are” by Tim Soerens. In this, we hope to be spending time together listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance for the vision of our congregation. We invite you to also join us in reading this book and then share what ideas and thoughts come to you!
Another group has formed to discern how we can continue to stretch our commitment to serving all. What does welcome look like? How do we learn and grow in our hospitality and service to all people? This group is committed to listening to the experiences and stories of our congregation. God is at work in our stories.
Still another group has formed - a leadership growth group. We will gather twice a month dedicated to learning, reflecting and discerning what it means to be a leader in the Church, as well as what the Holy Spirit may be revealing in our lives. This group meets with me twice a month and includes “homework” - readings from various authors to discuss and enhance our conversations.
These are just a few of the seeds I see God planting; if you’re interested in learning more about any of them, please talk with me. There are so many more seeds - many of them in your life and in your story that I hope you will share with all of us.
I imagine this work as something like being a group of paleontologists. Each of us with a brush in hand, we slowly uncover the “skeleton” - the vision and purpose for which God is forming us. The Holy Spirit will give the breath needed to make the vision alive. So grab your brush. Let’s wait, hope and be renewed.
Peace, Pastor Liz