“God saw it all and declared it good!” Today as you see the world you inhabit, make a point to notice its goodness and name it so.
These are words from scripture as well as from one of the messages in the Advent devotional written by our new pastor, Jill Duffield.
We recently began our weekly Christian Formation staff meeting with these words and then proceeded to each name the goodness or light we see in our world of ministry.
We often begin our meetings with a similar exercise called appreciative inquiry which is focused on strength-based organizational change. We identify what is going well in our ministry and then what we can improve upon and help each other with as a team.
It helps us to not only stay in touch with our mission and vision in Christian Formation but also to keep us focused on what is positive and good during a time when it is easy to focus only on what is negative and bad in our world. We do a similar exercise in Session meetings by asking members “How do you see the Holy Spirit moving at FPC?”
This is not to say that we don’t also talk about and reflect on what is not working well or what seems to be weighing us down and draining our energy for ministry but it doesn’t become our primary focus.
We seek to focus on what is giving us life and light as a department and church and prayerfully doing what God calls us to do, not necessarily the latest consumer-driven need or trend of the day. We are seeking to stay big-picture vision focused not down in the weeds of less important minutia criticisms, and complaints often driven by anxiety and fear in our ever-changing world.
Here are the “ noticing goodness” notes I took as individual Christian Formation staff members recounted the goodness they were noticing last week at FPC:
- One-on-one conversations with young adults through texts and phone calls
- Engaging virtual church school classes of all ages gathered around computers for weekly spiritual nurture and connection
- Zoom book clubs reading and reflecting together from homes and even a hospital bed
- Youth small groups connecting and encouraging one another through group chats and Christmas kit deliveries
- Young families purchasing toys, clothes, and food for 37 Faith Action immigrant families
- Youth Race Task Force subteam meeting to discuss how our Christian faith calls us to actions of justice in our schools and neighborhoods
- Committees functioning as communities of deep faith and vision for seeing God at work in our church, city, and world
- Parents seeking guidance in conversations of faith during a pandemic
- 200 coats collected for GCS children through the ministry of Backpack Beginnings
- $2,400 check written for Greensboro Urban Ministry hunger fund proceeds from youth sanctuary puzzles and PCUSA coffee products sales
- Virtual Christmas pageant family video clips in production along with Christmas chapel, church school classes and WPS nativity program
Where are you noticing goodness in your world? How might you develop this spiritual practice of paying attention to good in your own life of Christian discipleship? Where do you see the movement of the Holy Spirit in our church and world?