For many years I worked as a product developer. I loved the work, but after a while the company recognized that we were designing products to suit us; to suit our existing tools, our existing manufacturing systems, our existing supplier skills, our existing packaging, and on and on. Design was based on what we did well and what was comfortable. We wanted to do more of the same.
And then competition came along. We knew that we had to do some things differently if we wanted to remain viable as a company. We had to retool. We had to learn new skills. We discovered that we really needed to design to address user needs, not for our own ease.
Designing with the user in mind was hard. We actually had to get outside of our doors to talk, and more importantly, to listen to people. We had to translate words like cool, pretty, easy, sophisticated and simple, into engineering terms. Did I mention it was hard?
Our church and many churches are in a similar situation. For many years we have been doing things in a way that is easy for us. Our church and many churches have avoided getting outside our doors and asking about the needs of the community. We have avoided having the hard discussions about the retooling and skill-building necessary for us to be 21st century disciples.
We have a great opportunity before us. We can engage it with fear and continue doing the same old thing the same old way, OR, we can re-commit ourselves to going out to the world. It is hard, but it can be done. Matthew says, seek first the kingdom and the increase will be provided.
It is no surprise that scripture repeatedly tells us, ‘Do not fear’. I read somewhere that “Faith is not the absence of fear. Faith is feeling the fear & then acting on the promises & purposes of God anyway.”
Shortly I will be leaving this church, but the hurts and the needs in our community remain present, and this church has the capacity to help. I pray that Queen Anne also has the courage to overcome the fear and to engage its calling.