January 14, 2020
The disruption that COVID brought to our nation and society has also disrupted much of what we do here at Magnolia Methodist. But, now with vaccines being distributed, I began to plan what the other side of this time might look like. And then, our District Superintendent, Rev. Jeff Olive, sent the following email to every pastor in our district.
“I’m on day 13 of an eating plan called Whole30. What exactly is Whole30, you ask? Good question: The eating plan is actually an elimination-style diet that bans all soy, dairy, grains, alcohol, legumes, and added sugars from your diet for 30 days straight.
Apparently, the point is to flush your system, so when the 30 days are up, you can slowly add different food groups back and get a sense of which ones have been secretly affecting your physical and mental health. The creator says Whole30 will change your entire relationship with food. It has changed my relationship already. I feel like I just had a bad breakup with sugar and am left alone and depressed. Ok, it’s not that bad but you get the point. The truth is I did not want to do this diet and never would have except for my wife. She wanted to do this and did not want to do it by herself, which I think means she did not want me eating ice cream while she ate snap peas. But if I am honest after November and December, I needed a break from all the junk I was eating over the holidays. I needed to eliminate some things from my diet for a season. I needed a reset after last year.
For our churches 2020 felt like a type of ministry reset in many ways. Most of what we were doing halted completely for almost a year. It was similar to the elimination diet I am on. We stopped consuming a whole lot of things in our churches and stuck with the basics. And now as 2021 is here many of us will begin slowly adding back into the church diet what used to be consumed. I would urge you to add back slowly, thoughtfully, and strategically. There are some things you were consuming in your church diet that left you or the congregation feeling depleted and malnourished. Maybe you are better not returning to those things. On the other hand, by now you have discovered there were events, ministries, and studies that were vital to your health. These will need to be added back in so that your congregational diet feels balanced once again. I have probably taken this metaphor about as far as I should, but you get the point.”
Rev. Olive says it better than I can. There can be times when we settle into a routine and don’t even think about what we’re doing. How often do I reach for a Dr Pepper without thinking? But, when we go through a disruption that changes everything, it can allow us to take stock of what we’ve been doing and to make some needed adjustments. We can decide what we need to change, and what we need to keep, for the good of God’s kingdom and the work of ministry that we are called to as a church here in Magnolia. We’ll soon be adding back some of the treasured things we used to do, but other things we will take our time to carefully weigh them before we continue.
I’m excited about the direction our church is headed as we pursue our mission that God calls us to; to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. It’s all about that.
Join us Sunday as we continue through our stewardship series for 2021 in the book of Ezra. If you haven’t already received a stewardship letter and pledge card, let the office know. We want everyone to be a part of the work God has for all of us here.
We began our Helping Hands ministry this Tuesday. We meet at 9am Tuesday mornings for a cup of coffee and then spend a bit of time fixing a couple of odds and ends around the campus to help with the upkeep and maintenance of our church. It was a good time Tuesday and we look forward to keeping this going.
See you Sunday!