“Don’t Fall for It!” Blog Series Summary

Blog series: “Don’t Fall For It.”

This time of year, it’s understandable that ministry leaders are tempted to zoom in on the nuts and bolts of fall planning and programming, trying to somehow manage everything that comes with it. For the next several weeks, we want to push back on that temptation, insist on maintaining a wider lens, and ask, what does and doesn’t deserve your attention as your congregation prepares for this fall and beyond?

Look Around and Pay Attention

“Reuse and recycle may be an approach to environmental stewardship, but this is decidedly not the time to simply re-purpose conventional ministry programs. No programming in church matters right now unless it directly addresses deep questions of meaning, getting out of our self-made echo-chambers, experiencing the mystery of God in Jesus Christ, building capacity to live through the ups and downs of life, and helping people engage with life and work in ways that matter.” — Mark Ramsey

Reflecting on Faith, Call, and Gifts

“As we think about what does and doesn’t deserve our attention in this season, it seems to me that we must include an honest look at our own faith, and call, and gifts. Even the best plans and strategies won’t help – or at least won’t be joyful – if we are ignoring ourselves as we dare to lead. Whether our churches are thriving or struggling, whether we are energized or exhausted, whether the way is sure or unsure – it is important to ask questions of ourselves and remember that we are neither called nor able to do/fix/be/lead/know everything.” — Beth McMullen Daniel

The Elephant in the Room

“Whatever the form or shape “the elephant in the room” takes, when we don’t acknowledge or address it … we allow our imaginations to run wild with fear and trepidation and we allow that fear to make decisions for us. We already know that fear is a bad decision maker. When Sarah and Abraham feared that God’s promise wouldn’t come to pass, fear made them take matters into their own hands and make some bad decisions.” — Jennifer Watley Maxell

Sparkle in the Park and Other Community Events We Pay Attention To!

“The Gospel message is always about striving for the good of the whole. Christ walked on earth as God incarnate because of this deep love for humanity in community. As the Christian church, it is our role and responsibility to look for the work of the Holy Spirit within our community, not just create programming that brings community to the church. We need to be paying attention to the community calendar, and striving to help the Christians in our church, be better Christians in our communities.” — Amy Valdez Barker

Elephants and Opportunities?

“I want to suggest that all these challenges – all these unsettling questions and assessments – may present us with an interesting opportunity – an occasion to unearth the talent that we once buried because we miscalculated its value – a chance to reclaim the treasure hidden in jars of clay while liberating ourselves from a cancerous culture of comparison that carries us inevitably down a path of covetousness, competition, and constant discontentment.” — Adam Mixon

Developing Better Habits

“Works of compassion and justice become habituated in our lives only when we become more deeply attentive to the pain of others. These habits emerge out of close contact with suffering, grief, trauma, and dislocation. These habits are cultivated not in the pulpit but in the public – prisons and detention centers, AA meetings and homeless shelters, the living room of an over-worked single parent or the bedside of a victim of gun violence. It’s in spending times in these places that we start developing the sort of habits that will sustain for the long haul the work we’ve started in recent years.” — Ryan Bonfiglio

Let’s Not Have the Same Conversation This Fall about Church Budgets and Raising Money

“Some recent findings suggest that younger people are actually motivated to give, but for different reasons and to different sorts of entities than older generations. With younger generations, giving continues to shift towards “movements” and more immediate impact (and away from institutions), and younger generations are increasingly pursuing spiritually oriented, meaning-making experiences and spaces. What implications might this have for your particular ministry context and how giving fits within and strengthens emerging frameworks of discipleship?” — Adam Borneman

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