Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Life of the "First Advantage"

I knew a man at a congregation I served years ago (I’ll call him John). John is insightful, pragmatic and creative—a great leadership resource. Incredibly busy, John runs a public relations/advertising company. He is also interested in the life of his congregation. He removed himself from church leadership because he attended too many committee meetings that were long on talk, but short on action. John wanted his work and gifts to mean something in the life of a congregation and community. He found his time, energy and gift investment was better placed elsewhere. At first, I lamented John’s absence. However, other service opportunities offered a better return on investment. I couldn’t argue with his disengagement from congregational leadership.

My first encounter with First Lutheran Community Church and its organizational structure was intriguing to a geek like me. I like sociology and organizational development. I spent my first 11 years of ministry trying to make broken systems better, mostly because I enjoyed thinking about the structure itself. However, the return on time and energy invested was minimal.

My current commute tests my patience. Although I will make two round trips (some days 3) between Federal Way and Port Orchard (about 80 miles), I have new hope for ministry. A few years ago I completely lost my patience for ineffective church committee meetings. I see FLCC and its lack of standing committees as a breath of fresh air. My leadership to different groups of the church seems to matter at FLCC—and most ministries are able to thrive without my presence at meetings. I have good return on my time, energy and gift investment in FLCC--because I know that people’s lives are affected positively in the name of Christ.

The point is that the people of Port Orchard need to know the advantages of this community of faith. What are the advantages of being a part of FLCC? What is the First Advantage? Anyone can come to worship and learn about the presence of God in daily life through the Bible, music and prayer. Wisdom for living is found. Healing is possible for brokenness in relationships with God and others. A call is issued to serve our neighbors in need. FLCC is a place where anyone can become neighbors. There is an opportunity to live this life in Jesus Christ every day of the week. The congregation may not suit everyone’s preferences, but anyone can receive a good return on their investment. Not only does FLCC open its doors, but you are continually learning to proactively invite your neighbors outside of your doors. To what kind of community are you inviting potential neighbors? Thank you for sharing that First Advantage with me. I pray for your continuing work in engaging your neighbors-to-be.

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