Today I entered a local restaurant for some lunch where a congregation member works. I like going into the work places of congregation members--most of the time they appreciate the surprise. The move is more natural when the workplace sells something I might need, but it's not a requirement for me to stop by.
During our conversation, the woman said to me that she was looking forward to our worship service on the Port Orchard Waterfront (August 29th, 10am). I told her I appreciated hearing that. Trying something new in a congregation often invites skepticism and questions. I don't mind that people ask questions. Questions provide an opportunity to build ownership of a new ministry in the congregation. Questions provide a strategy for a developed sense of purpose. Sometimes the questions and skepticism are all I hear or congregational leaders hear--and that can prevent people from trying new things, but I am thrilled when leaders persevere. A new ministry represents a new level of work. Habits don't necessarily work, new connections must be made, new trails must be blazed. To hear a word of encouragement like that is a subtle game-changer. I look at the game plan for that Sunday, and the tasks become not a source of fear, but opportunity.
As the conversation continued, the woman shared with me that her daughter was bringing her boat to dock for the service and that it might encourage her to be a part of the congregation. That bit of encouragement got me thinking broader: where am I going to get a boat and an adequate sound system so I can preach to the boaters? Proclamations of hope and encouragement are subtle game-changers.