I believe in the power of confession. I believe that by voicing our shortcomings, our faults, and foibles out loud, either to God or to a trusted community, that we can change and be held accountable for the changes we need to make in our lives. Well, Friends, Family of God... here's one of my major confessions of a fault and foible in my own life: I have a TERRIBLE habit of buying books and then NEVER READING THEM. I read reviews on these books that will help strengthen my ministry or myself as a pastor. I then purchase them. I leave them on my desk for a while, and then about 6-9 months after purchasing them, I put them on my office book shelf and forget about them. THEN, months, or maybe years later, a thought strikes me and I say "Oh! I wish I had a book on topic x, y, or z!" I research books on these topics, find a book title, and then realize...wait... I already do. I just never read the dang thing! The cycle continues and I have books upon books staring back at me on my shelves and I'm going to say that majority haven't been read. I hope that by the books simply sitting near me on shelves the knowledge will jump out of the book and into my own head! Hasn't worked very well recently...
There's your true life confession from a pastor, mom, and book hoarder. Oh... I do this in my personal life as well as my professional. The books I read most frequently now are stories about ducks, sheep, unicorns, and dragons to my 3 year old.
All of that is just the back story and how my brain and life functions in this world. Back in January 2019, the Joint Board members of First Moravian Church were introduced to a book in a training session called Sailboat Church: Helping Your Church Rethink Its Mission and Practice by Joan S. Gray. After hearing about it, and learning about the book, reading a few exerts online, I fell into my normal pattern and went "I need this book!" So I bought it, and it sat on a coffee table in the living room for a while. It took one of my members who was over babysitting my daughter one night picking up the book, reading a bit of it, and asking to borrow it, for that book to move.
She read through the book and kept telling me how amazing it was and how much she wanted to discuss it. I figured "What the heck, I'll buy it again." So... I did. I bought a copy for myself, and one for my Pastor in Crime Friend. After HE read it, (I still hadn't) we decided we should start a book study on it. He found it insightful and wonderful and something that we needed to discuss with leaders of our congregation in order to begin re-shaping our congregations and charting a new course with the Holy Spirit at the helm instead of us.
So...we did. We started with a small group on Wednesday nights at a local brewery. The group grew. Then the group said "you need to do this again." And now, another group is starting on Thursday Mornings at First Moravian Church to discuss learning how to sail with Christ. I'm excited to discuss this book and to read it... again! Nothing like having to lead a small group and book study to actually get you to READ the books you have purchased!
The conversations around these chapters have been amazing and have begun to shape leaders to want to do ministry a different way! We are working towards this and hoping that it will continue to shape our learning, our findings, and most importantly our Discipleship. So... my goal: Each week I will blog about the conversations we had and share insights gleaned from the book. Getting this information out there is going to be important. I hope that by doing so, people who are unable to be a part of the weekly discussions want to know more and maybe... we do another round of discussions. So join me weekly, after Thursdays, to hear more about how to transform our church and congregation from rowers into sailors.