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Stewardship of Good News

As I sit down to write this month’s newsletter article, I think about the state of our church, Peace Lutheran, and realize that I have both a healthy measure of excitement and nerves. In some ways I see us as being on the brink of ultimate possibilities as a congregation. A month and a half ago our council got together and brainstormed hopes for our church, we came up with things in many
categories including needs for the building, worship life, youth, young adults, Sunday School and more. Some of the dreams that came out of that meeting have been both important and relatively limited in scope, so they are already being worked on (hopefully you are starting to see some of the first fruits of this brainstorm at Peace). Other things looked at that meeting are important, but of a scope that will take a bit more time, and may take some creative risks to begin to implement. I also expect as this brainstorm sits with the council members, and as other members of our congregation see changes, and suggest other directions to move towards, we will have even more things that come up. This process is referred to in many circles as a Visioning Process, and if done right it will effect our shared ministry together for many years. As we enter this intentional look toward our future as Peace Lutheran, I think it might be helpful for you to understand a bit of how I tend to understand a Visioning Process in my own personal life. Now let me start by saying that throughout my time in Seminary and even in some of my undergrad work I had the opportunity (or was required to, depending on my mood of the day!) to read a lot of literature written by church leaders throughout spectrum of denominations and church sizes on Visioning. That being said, I actually want to turn to an excerpt from a speech by Larry Page, CEO of Google, as it in many ways reflects most honestly my internal understanding of Visioning and living into the future. "[You also have to have] the courage to fail on things. Our Ad sense, which is how we help other partners monetize websites, was part of a failed experiment to understand the Web. So the way in which we target advertisements to websites was a failed result to better understand the Web and actually improve search. So I think you really have to be prepared to try ambitious things, which really leads me to my next point. I was a student at the University of Michigan and I went to a summer leadership course. Their slogan was to have “a healthy disregard for the impossible.” A healthy disregard for the impossible, and I think that is a really good slogan and it has really stuck with me all these years, and I think that although it sounds kind of nuts, it’s easier to make progress when your really ambitious. The reason is you don't have any competition, because no one else is going to try those things, and you also get all the best people, because the best people always want to work on the most ambitious things...." There are three things I take out of this that seem to be applicable to us as a Church on the brink of ultimate possibilities. First, we have to have the courage to fail. It is my belief that unless we're willing to have failures, we will never let ourselves try the big things, the important things that will truly move us forward as a Church. Second, having “a healthy disregard for the impossible.” It’s important to acknowledge that it’s a HEALTHY disregard. This doesn't mean ignoring reality, but it also doesn't mean being held back to only what others have succeeded in, in the past. Third, the best people always want to be a part of the most ambitious things. Although this is obvious in a tech world, I think it’s also very true of worshiping communities. People want to be a part of a church where the exciting presence of God is felt, and where there is that excitement, it is also much easier to find those who are willing to put in the effort required to take advantage of that Holy excitement. So you have now read my understanding of visioning, all that's missing now is your Hands, Feet, and Voice. Pastor, Matthew Rose