Dear South East District Friends:
I came across this quote over the summer and have been sitting with it while making plans for this fall. It speaks to me (as so many words from Saint Francis do!).
On one level, these are powerful words for us when we are hurting personally. I think about the journey I have traveled over the last year and it reads a bit like this quote where I first started with what was necessary and then moved to what was possible. I’m still working on the impossible! And think about the efforts to recover from Hurricane Irma. People all over our state, and many of you in this district, first began with what was necessary. Then what was possible. And, absolutely, the impossible has been accomplished in many places (a big shout out to Big Pine UMC!).
I believe one of the key words in this quote is simply the word, “Start.” There are times when we feel paralyzed and the hardest task is the effort it takes to begin: getting out of bed or making a tough phone call or finally asking for help. In the church it is no different. We are often paralyzed by what seems to be the enormous task of “saving the world” and we find we can’t even take the baby steps of getting started: calling the leaders together or committing to pray for guidance or talking with others to collaborate around solutions to the problem.
Our communities need for us to first do what is necessary instead of fretting over our inability to do the impossible. We must start somewhere, and Saint Francis says to start in the beginning – with what is necessary. So, what is necessary? I would argue that in all of our communities vital and relevant worship is necessary. Worship that speaks to people and the transformation God is seeking in their lives. If your worship is not vital and relevant (and joyful!), please work on this ASAP. I believe daily contact between our churches and the communities they serve is necessary. This can happen through food ministries, church-school partnerships, homeless ministries and youth ministries. If the only contact your church facilitates is contact among church members then we are doing what is easy, not what is necessary. The world needs human contact with the church – a real person that shows Jesus’ love is real.
I invite you to create your own list (preferably with other church leaders) of what is necessary for your ministry to make a difference in your community. You may be surprised with the answers. You may stop doing certain things. You may begin others. Ultimately, I believe you will be turning necessary things into bright possibilities for growth and transformation. Then, shall we all shout together, we will be doing the impossible!
Grace and peace,
Cynthia D. Weems