Dear Partners in Mission:
Your synod council met last Saturday morning to do the business of the synod as well as engage in conversation and leadership formation. We offered the meeting in a hybrid format which, while not ideal, enabled us to include over 30 participants including most of our conference deans, as well as save significant travel costs. It is a part of our new reality and I am grateful for your synod council’s time.
We started our time together with some reflection and prayer. I asked them a question…”What decade immediately comes to mind when I say 30 years ago?” Some quickly did math and said “the 90s.” But others recognized that honestly their immediate thought was “the 70s” or “the 80s.” The reality is that when we look back on history our sense of time often becomes distorted. Oftentimes I am shocked when a Facebook memory pops up and that event was 5 or even 10 years ago.
So why does this matter? Our perception of time often shapes our worldview and impacts our interactions with others. As one commentator I saw recently said, “Contemporary Worship is now traditional.” For many church goers in America worship with a band is their experience of worship but the music is often based in the style of a particular era of popular music that now is decades old and formed in the “worship wars” of the 90s.
My point however isn’t a commentary on worship music. It is that if we desire to be a multi-generational church we need to recognize that time continues to pass and the world continues to change. Sunday morning worship is now something experienced by a distinct minority of people in our contexts. Online and hybrid experiences help us connect but have limitations in reaching new people. And so as we lead into this reality we must be honest and clear about the opportunities and challenges this new world brings. We also should be encouraged because we know that through all the changes God’s people experience, that the early church experienced, God was present and inspiring it by the Holy Spirit.
I give thanks for your synod council and their faithful service. Be encouraged in your work. And know God is ever with us and we do this…