Here’s what often happens in the life of a church: a staff imagines what they think the community needs, creates a program of classes and groups to fulfill those needs and then pours their energy into keeping those things running.
We want to try something a little different. What if we were to foster (non) programs that arise out of our community? That means actively listening to both the needs and the passions of our community and creating a living network to link the needs with passions. Frederich Buechner calls this vocation, ‘the place where the world’s greatest need and your greatest joy meet.’ Our passion without connection to another’s need is just a hobby. Our need without connection to another’s passion is lonely desperation. What if we were to be a community that unlocks vocation?
Alex loves to work with artists, Ryan connects Alex with few folks from Beloved who are experiencing a creative ‘dry spell’, and together they decide to meet once every two weeks at Ladro to go through the book ‘The Artist’s Way’. Alex thinks they have room for two more people in the group, so we advertise and a few more people from the neighborhood join in.
Now, if one’s passion takes a new shape, if one’s need becomes met, if the (non) -program is no longer desired than what’s the use struggling to keep it running? It’s okay that things end. We’re not bound by the tradition of, ‘but we’ve always done it this way.’ It just means that something new is afoot and we can respond quickly to change. It’s been our experience that the Holy Spirit is more like a wild goose than a dove – impossible to pin down and leading us on the craziest of rides.
But organic doesn’t have to be dis-organized. In fact, organism are amazingly organized, and we want to be as organized as is helpful to network. So if you have have a passion, an idea, a day dream, anything that you want to share… counseling, baking, technology, Theology Pub, knitting… tell us about it! And if you have a need, a desire for more, a curiosity, anything that you want to receive… a connection with other new moms, to know more about becoming Christian, help with fixing a car, discernment in career paths… tell us about it! (firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-356-7976)
If this experiment in (non) programatic vocation actually works, watch out – it could be a tidal wave of God’s grace in the world.