Jesus of the Gaps

We stand here at the end of a year, ready to start 2018. What will the year ahead be like? We can't know in advance, but we can imagine already how Jesus will be with us in our ongoing story...Even in the gaps!

We have come to this time of year where we wonder where 2017 has gone and what lies ahead for us in 2018. Part of looking at the past and moving into the future is looking back on what was "trending." What were those talking points that seemed to step out in front of most news and happenings? Those who use social media will see exactly what it is that is trending on social media. How many "clicks" did those items get? Will they be the talk of 2018 or just a distant memory?

Recently, I read about some of the things that will be trending in church culture in 2018, and how they will not only impact us, individually, but also as a community of faith.

Here are the top 10 items trending in 2018:

  1. The audio revolution.

  2. Boomer retirement crisis.

  3. The deferred maintenance crisis in church facilities.

  4. Churches moving into retail spaces.

  5. Ongoing church closures.

  6. The rise of the neighborhood church.

  7. The learning revolution of the best church leaders.

  8. Downsizing of worship centers/sanctuaries.

  9. The rise of networks.

  10. More Great Commission intentionality.

  • People are listening to more audio for learning purposes than ever before. How will this impact faith formation for all ages in our church?

  • The boomer retirement crisis is two-fold: a lot are about to retire, but some will hang on too long. In financial terms, how will this impact church giving, but also health care for those living longer?

  • Every church should be a church for its neighborhood. How are we reaching out in our neighborhood?

  • If you are not learning, you are not leading. How will our denomination address the needs of pastoral leadership when less and less people are entering seminaries to be pastors?

  • The last all fall together — Ongoing church closures, deferred maintenance on aging church facilities with a dwindling congregation and resources. The retail bust could be big for churches looking for space. More commercial space than ever before is coming available. Too many churches overbuilt their worship space in the past. How can we be part of the answer instead of bemoaning the problem? Is it time to look at working cooperative of with other churches in the community? How might this "expand" our neighborhood?

The answer to these trending problems, questions, and uncertainties needs to be addressed with wisdom, reason, and with a spiritual focus. Perhaps that is why we need a "Jesus of the gaps" to help us envision a joyful and faithful future instead of looking at the future with "gloom and doom."

As we begin the New Year, I will be sharing how we might join together on a "wild goose chase" like no other! An adventure that will not be a waste of time or effort, but one in which we will have allowed the Spirit of God to move us along in ways that we could not even imagine doing on our own.

I hope you will be with us in January as we go on a Wild Goose Chase!

Pastor Steve

UPCOMING SERVICES AND SERMON TOPICS

Worship is at 10:30 Sunday morning unless otherwise noted.

12/31/17 — Jesus of the Gaps — Luke 2:22-40

We stand here at the end of a year, ready to start 2018. What will the year ahead be like? We can't know in advance, but we can imagine already how Jesus will be with us in our ongoing story...Even in the gaps!

01/07/18 Epiphany and Baptism of Jesus — Communion Service

Wild Goose Chase: Being on a Life-long Spiritual Adventure — Matthew 19:13-22 (Message Translation); Acts 19:1-7(NRSV)

"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." –Helen Keller

Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (p. 1). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

01/14/18 Healing and Anointing Service — Wild Goose Chase: Being Dreamers — Genesis 37:17b-27 (NRSV)

01/21/18 — Wild Goose Chase: Sometimes It Takes a Shipwreck — Acts 28:1-4 (NLT)

"If you want to make God laugh, tell [God] your plans." –John Chancellor

Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (p. 117). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

01/28/18 — Wild Goose Chase: Then and Now — Matthew 5:38-48 (NRSV)

"The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears." –David Whyte

Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (p. 143). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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