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What getting kicked out could teach us...

06.27.17 | Being The Church | by Stephanie O'Brien

    (Pastor Steph also writes at PastorSteph.com) 

    Last week on Friday afternoon, we found out that the school we have worshipped in every Sunday for over 8 years couldn’t host us for potentially most of the summer.

    It’s not like we were “kicked out,” technically - but it’s a bit funny to say. 

    However, in all reality we WERE physically homeless, when it comes to a worship space, for the first time in our young life as a church.

    We scrambled to make plans for that first Sunday without a space and made a decision that turned out to be a great one. We joined our friends Sanctuary Covenant Church just a few miles away in North Minneapolis.

    They were wonderful hosts as we joined their previously planned worship service.

    We love Sheridan and we are excited for them to have the new updates! It wasn’t the administration’s fault, but rather a miscommunication at the district level.

    They were very apologetic and by Monday afternoon helped us secure Northeast Middle School for as long as we need it.

    It will be inconvenient to pack everything up and move a few miles away this weekend, but nothing our awesome community can’t handle.

    In the midst of the scramble - I am struck with some thoughts that feel important to our church and the desire to follow Jesus that we try and live out.

    What does getting kicked out remind us about who we are?

    • The church is us not a building.
    • We are free - It’s amazing we get to worship freely in our society.
    • We are The Church where ever we go and Sunday mornings are merely the gathering of this specific part of God's church in our location.

    What does getting kicked out remind us about who God is?

    • God is always moving and doing new things. Jesus said he came to make all things new!
    • Even if a change like this was not caused by God, God can use it to teach us and shape us.
    • God invites us to join in what God is doing around us every day.

    What does getting kicked out help us learn?

    This experience can help us learn qualities needed as a church to be able to continually join God’s mission in the world. These are qualities that the church isn’t really known for these days.

    We learn…

    • To be an agile church.
    • To be an anti-fragile church.
    • To be an adaptive church.

    AN AGILE CHURCH

    To join God, we need to respond. Response means we have to have the ability to MOVE. Not to move hastily, but readily.

    A good definition of agility would be, “marked by a ready ability to be responsive and move with a quick and easy grace.”

    If we are really going to be lead by Jesus, day by day, moment by moment, we are going to need to be agile. Readily responsive.

    Our friend Dwight Zscheile says in his book Agile Church, “Innovation and agility is nothing new for Christian Disciples. They are integral to God’s mission as described in Scripture, and they characterize many of the most vital moments of witness and service in the church’s history.”

    The church isn’t called to stability - but agility.

    AN ANTI-FRAGILE CHURCH

    Humans are fragile. We are easily discouraged, broken and disheartened.

    I believe that the only way to overcome our fragility is through two things in our lives: God’s Spirit and community.

    Together as a church community, led by God’s spirit, we can be anti-fragile.

    Scholar and risk-analyst Nassim Taleb proposes anti-fragility in systems as: an ability to benefit and grow from random events, errors, and volatility.

    We are broken and risk-averse humans. But we are empowered by Jesus to come together and be led to be an anti-fragile community of hope in a fragile world.

    AN ADAPTIVE CHURCH

    Change is hard. Change is constant. And whether we like it or not - change is going to happen.

    When we are facing challenges - we tend to only lean on “technical change” to try to handle the transitions. What we need to also do is embrace “adaptive change.”

    • Technical change example: We can’t worship at Sheridan - we will move to Northeast Middle School.
    • Technical change result: find new answers and fix problems.

     

    • Adaptive change example: We are going to change locations, but we are also going to learn from this experience and figure out how it might shape us as we step into God’s future.
    • Adaptive change result: ask new questions and experience new opportunities for learning.

    If we embrace adaptive change, we have the best opportunity to not only DO new things, but BECOME new and more like God is leading us to be!

    Months from now, this will just be another chapter in the history book of Mill City Church. We will say… hey, remember that time when we got kicked out?

    But perhaps, this experience will guide is in new ways in the next chapter! And the chapter after that!

    I wonder if there are things in our lives and our families currently that have that same adaptive change opportunity?

    I’m excited for us to step into the future together and find out!