Birthing a Vison

It feels kind of like birthing a baby.  Well, metaphorically speaking since I’ve never actually birthed a baby before.  Our church has just approved a new Vision Statement and Core Values that has actually been almost a 10 month process.   This baby was overdue! I have to admit, it feels pretty good right now.  But it has been a birthing process of sorts.  Certainly a creative process.  And absolutely something that God was a part of forming and bringing into existence.

Centenary United Methodist Church:  Striving to be a vibrant Christian community, loving God and loving neighbor downtown and throughout the region.

Core Values:         

  • Intentional Hospitality              Excellent Worship
  • Creative Music & the Arts         Engaging Discipleship
  •  Nurturing Fellowship                Compassionate Service
  •  Exceptional Generosity            Christ-like Leadership

Truly this has been some difficult work as team of 13 of us listened and learned as well as discussed and prayed for 7 months until we felt we were ready to articulate what we thought God was calling our church to do and who we heard God calling us to be.  Then we began the process of crafting the draft statements.  Finally, we vetted the draft with the congregation for a month who gave us great feedback that helped us tweak the draft Vision and Values and make them stronger.

And now we begin what is the most fun part of the process which is vision alignment.  Members of Centenary, over the next year you will begin to see leadership, both staff and laity, filter all of its ministries through our vision so that all of our wonderful ministry areas will begin to move in the same direction.  Can you imagine our church putting all of its energy and resources in a unified direction?

I am excited to see how God is going to move among us.  I am so hopeful for the future of this amazing church.  I am so grateful to be a part of God’s Kingdom work in your midst.  Don’t miss out.  Come be a part of it.  I promise you, God has some big hopes and dreams that will be so much fun to be a part of. All of that on top of being an awesome church to worship and build meaningful relationships with one another.  Don’t miss out!

 

Grace and Peace,

Lory Beth

Laying Down the Yoke

It has been a few weeks since my last blog.  The reason for that has been a break neck pace of responsibilities, meetings, conferences, and intensive projects that required extra attention.  My blog is not the only thing that has not gotten much of my attention in the last month.  The layer of dust in our condo is down right embarrassing.  The amount of cooking I have done the last month consists of two persimmon puddings – both of which were prepared for church functions.

One particular week in the midst of this crazy month was even more demanding and I was really tired from lack of sleep and the stress of rolling from one thing to another because of unfortunate scheduling.  One sleepy morning I began my devotion time and one of my current practices is using a book by Joyce Rupp called Fresh Bread and Other Gifts of Spiritual Nourishment.  Part of my practice includes reading a passage of Scripture each morning and the passage that God had prepared for me (through Rupp’s book) was Matthew 11:28-30 which says:

28 “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29  Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. 30  My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”             –                                                                                                            -Matthew 11:28-30 (CEB)

I just burst into tears at that moment and basked in the love I felt from God as if God was holding me in God’s arms and stroking my head while I relaxed completely and deeply in God’s assurance and peace.  I love it when God speaks boldly into my life that which I most need to hear.  I heard the Word that my normally fast paced life was beyond what even I could keep up with.  It was time to back off and slow it down.  I managed to get through the following 2 days of intensity and then calmed my schedule back down.

The beauty of that moment is it wouldn’t have come if I hadn’t committed to a regular practice of putting myself in a position for God to speak into my life.  It doesn’t happen that profoundly every day by any means.  But because I spend time in prayer and in Scripture daily, that avenue is open when God needs it.

Maybe this blog is the avenue God needs to say to you today that if you are carrying a particularly heavy load or you are struggling hard right now that maybe you need to sit it down.  Maybe you need to hand it over to Jesus.  Instead, maybe you need to be willing to

717682

take on the yoke that Jesus offers.  Yoking ourselves to Jesus as our master is choosing to serve the One who is gentle and humble and loving and filled with grace.  The One who will challenge and push us but in ways that are always manageable.  And that includes rest in Him.

So now I’m thankfully back to a more balanced life.  After some rest, I have lots on my mind so I look forward to getting back into a weekly rhythm of blogging.  I hope that God will speak into your life with what you most need to hear this week and that you will be in a position to hear it.

 

Grace and Peace,

Lory Beth