You may or may not have noticed the basket in the Narthex. I put a sign on it that says, “If you fear change … leave it here.” In the basket are coins I’ve taken from my pocket over the course of the past few weeks.
You see, we moved Melissa from Sabetha to Wichita on May 1. The move has meant lots of changes for her and for us. Some of the change is welcome – we get to see her a lot more frequently now, for example. But some of the change is very scary. She is in a home that has far less staff than what we had before, and there are fewer legal protections in this new home because we moved from one level of care to another.
So, I keep emptying my pockets into the basket.
The same kind of thing is happening in our church. We are making changes, and some of them are welcome, but others can be frightening. In worship on April 29, I referred to a chart.
It shows the average worship attendance of our church from its “birth” in 1956 to the present. I was not able to find all of the data, so there are gaps, but you can see a trend. Last year was the shortest bar on the chart; it is about 100 fewer in worship than we had just 6 years ago.
I suggested that we have a choice of changing and finding ways to invite new people or to continue as we are and make plans for closing the doors within 20 years.
If you were not there, check out our website and listen to what I said, because I also said I have great hopes for the future. But that future will require change.
So, I put out the basket.
And I find myself emptying my pockets every time I think about how I will have to change in order to help the church change. I don’t know what I’ll do with the money; that isn’t what is important at this point. But if you’re one who is fearful of change, maybe you want to leave yours there with mine.
Together, we can do this! As we seek God’s guidance and direction, we can make the future a story where we are the catalyst for change in our world.