by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director
At the turn of the century it was predicted that people in the city of New York would literally be drowning in manure due to the number of horses on the streets. (Yes, the late 1800s.)
The birth of the automobile saved us from this fate.
The threat was real. The innovation was slow, iterative and eventually created its own issues with auto emissions contributing to the decline in air quality. Yet, the first crisis was averted.
Creativity won the day. Creativity loves constraint. People have been known for transforming limitations into advantages. In case you don’t feel the squeeze, ponder this:
- Dwight Zscheile’s article Will the ELCA be Gone in 30 Years? does a great job laying out the challenges we are facing as leaders in the church, regardless of denomination.
- Many of us feel ashamed that our churches are 98% white. (Or is it 100% at your place?)
- The average age of the white people in our church is 58.
While the constraints are all around us, our LEAD Team wants you to know that we are not without hope.
Before you are completely out of breath, why don’t you partner with us? We are working with over 70 congregations right now who are getting curious about their neighbors, rethinking their ways of making decisions, sparking generosity, and deepening faith. We know this is hard work. But you don’t have to do it alone. We are ready to join you in creating new behaviors that will encourage you and your congregation to leverage LEAD’s four growth indicators:
Listen – to God in scripture and prayer, in your congregation, and in the neighborhood. Note, the congregation is only one-third of the work.
Center – start with your own faith practices and purpose, then move to the purpose and values of your congregation. Life-alignment and congregational-alignment are about focusing on what matters most.
Explore – ask the hard questions. Get after the essential decisions you are making in your own life and at church. Curiosity is a way of life in this changing world.
Connect – get out of your comfort zone and meet the neighbors. Go beyond your ethnic, cultural, and gender frameworks to meet a God who is in love with diversity.
Our consultants and coaches are ready to walk with you down this unknown road. Our best experiences are with congregations working together to learn, experiment, and dig into their own imagination. There really is good news for leaders who are ready to do the work. Let’s talk!