It must be hard to contemplate the breadth and depth of your church board agenda right now. New protocols for meeting in person, staying safe, being ready to contact-trace if needed, and tracking vaccination levels. But also, in-person worship (or when can we do that?) along with continued online worship, plus figuring out youth group, summer camp, education offerings, fellowship offerings, caring for the home bound, child care for the youngest, while not neglecting budget worries, ventilation plans, what to do about corporate singing, what to do about…. We know there’s more, but we’re already dizzy. You have a lot on your plate.
In a recent Ministry Collaborative podcast, our two wise and faithful cohort leaders in Scotland, Arthur Christie and Peter Nielson, talked about ministry in this season. Among the many important things they shared was a reference to Celtic spirituality and especially the related themes of heart, home, and hub.
As Peter described it, the core of a church’s identity can be found in these three words. “The church exists to nurture hearts for God, to be a home to friend and stranger, and to be a hub for mission into the community.” And then he added: “the church building was never the place people were brought into, but the place we are equipped to go out and meet others on the road and at the wells.”
Earlier in the same podcast, Arthur Christie lifted up Colossians 3 as a Biblical text that is grounding him in this time:
12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another… forgive each other; just as God has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through him. (Colossians 3:12-17)
Truly, words to form our imagination of faith and to nurture heart and home and hub… and to give direction and wisdom to your church board, especially in these full-plate days.
How would you translate the three H’s—heart, home, hub—in the mission of your congregation?
How are these three H’s reflected in your current church board meeting agenda?
Of heart, home, and hub, which has been hardest to work on during the pandemic? Which, if any, has become easier?
Which part of the Colossi-ans text most resonates with the needs and opportunities of your congregation right now?