How might you encourage your congregation to “take the next faithful step” by framing a new initiative within the context of becoming “more of what we have been”? What “back to the basics” considerations might you include to move your congregation from a survival to a thrive mode?
The quote above is a writing prompt from my last doctoral class before I graduate. Over the last three years, this congregation has supported me in my pursuit of a Doctor of Ministry degree, with a focus in Church Leadership Excellence. For me, it has been an ever-present part of the last three years. I’ve spent time writing up case studies, reading literature on organizational change, and (this fall) writing a thesis. I am going to spend this spring on sabbatical, in part to refine and present my work, before graduating in May.
This particular prompt, though, feels like an animating question for the next five months. What is the next faithful step for us to take, together, as we move from surviving to thriving? We’ve been through a period of intense change as a congregation: who are we called to be now?
I look at the congregation on Sunday mornings and I’m struck by three things: how familiar it feels to be in the rhythm of gathering together at 6300 A Street on Sunday morning, how unfamiliar it feels with a smaller congregation and masks on, and how many new people are here every week. It is a moment of opportunity, a chance to become ‘more of what we have been,’ even as we become more than we have been before.
Rev. Oscar Sinclair serves as the Settled Minister for The Unitarian Church of Lincoln, Nebraska.