Hi Parkway --
I recently listened to a successful screen writer talk about something he learned over years of writing stories, movies, and episodes. He said every story has its big moments -- things that both construct the story and move it along. The difference between stories that never get off the ground and the stories that draw us is not that one has better big moments than the other -- what matters is what connects them.
In his words, stories that fall flat are often just a series of happenings more or less connected by 'and then this happens.'
Good stories, stories that draw us in are connected from start to finish with language of purpose, effect, and stakes:
This happened, therefore that happened.
This should happen, but it never came to be.
I keep coming back to this simple yet deep thought -- partly because often churches can seem to be a collection of 'and then this is happening,' and 'now this is coming up.'
And in a world where we are already stretched thin from work and family, a church of 'and this is happening,' can be just one more thing in a busy world rather than something that stands in contrast to a world that always demands more.
As the church continues to change, and as the place of church in our society and culture continues to change, I believe one of the ways we can meet this moment on solid footing will be in the ways we seek to be a church connected from start to finish with clear purpose.
Most weeks we close worship by saying our mission statement -- that in all things our purpose is to demonstrate God's grace to inspire a lifelong journey with Jesus.
Perhaps another way of stating our purpose is we seek to, with love and grace, give people what they need to take the next step of their journey. Take a look at some of what's coming up below, and see where you might find what you need to take the next step of your journey.