The Transition Team is continuing to build relationships by intentional email discussion each week in advance of our September 14 training. I hope that everyone at FBC is finding the content and reflection prompts I’m sharing in each Table Talk fruitful in preparing for the September 29 Congregational Conversation, which will be held 12:00-2:00 in the Fellowship Hall.

This week I’d like to add an additional element to our collective preparation: a prayer calendar. The daily prayer prompts are designed to help us notice more deeply where God is already at work around us. I invite you to begin using the calendar which you can find here anytime, noting that an August 14 start would lead to working through all the prayer prompts by the first congregational conversation.

Here is this week’s food for thought:

Assumed constraints are thought- and behavior-limiting beliefs: “Oh, I/we would never be able to pull that off.” “If I/we did that, what would others think?” “There’s only one way forward in this situation.” Every church – every person – has assumed constraints. The insidious reality, though, is that they affect our thinking, but we rarely know they’re there.
In order to obliterate these (often) false constraints, then, we have to unearth them. Curiosity is a useful tool for this psychological and spiritual digging: “What’s holding us back? Where’s that coming from?” “What would [someone outside the situation] say about this?” Once we’ve acknowledged how and why we’ve limited our own resources and options, we are free to get creative. “What would it look like if we went a little bit outside the box? Way outside the box? What excites us about these ideas? What means do we have to put them into action?”

In pastoral transitions, assumed constraints are perhaps at their most powerful. Churches sometimes believe they have to put everything but the basic ministry functions on hold until a new pastor arrives. If you’re feeling that way, get curious, and remember that the people – not the pastor – are the church.

Reflection question: What is our church afraid of?

Grace and peace,

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