It's the little things

As 2016 gives way to 2017, Mosaic is embarking on a pretty ambitious path toward growth, in terms of both numbers and mission. We're setting out with a lot of big assets—a skilled and "stubbornly committed" volunteer corps, solid financing, a remarkable building. These things are super helpful. (And comforting!)

But let's not overlook some smaller assets that will be equally important. They are less tangible than dollars and bricks—maybe "personal patterns" would be a better way to describe them. These are attitudes and habits that will help an already healthy church culture become even more alive, more life-giving.

At the annual meeting on Sunday, I laid out five of these patterns that I think could be big contributors to realizing our ambitions. Here they are in Internet form:

Your attendance is a gift: we've all been to church when a lot of people are there, and when the crowd is thin. And we know how different church feels in both cases. In 2017, if you find yourself on the fence about coming to church, remember the impact you have on others just by showing up. Your attendance doesn't have to be just about what you do or say; it can be a simple gift of presence. (And sometimes, when showing up is especially hard, that is a precious gift.)

Let your worship horizons widen: As we develop worship services, Jessica, Peggy, and I are increasingly conscientious about both planning ahead and staying flexible to adapt on the fly. Our church has factions that strongly prefer one approach over the other—either spontaneity or preparation. Both take faith, both lend strength and color to our church, and our plan is to grow the Mosaic worship experience in both directions. In 2017, make the most of opportunities to expand your worship horizons; engage in what feels natural and in what feels awkward. Jump in to what you can anticipate, and in what sneaks up on you.

Good yeses, good nos, few maybes: We have an amazing group of volunteers, and we're generally not shy about asking each other for help. We all know how important it is to know when a teammate will and won't be able to support you if you lean in their direction. Maybes, or yeses that turn into nos, result in people falling over when they lean in the direction of someone they thought would catch them. In 2017, don't be afraid to experiment with high-quality yeses and excellent nos, and challenge yourself to eliminate maybe from your vocabulary. When "no" is the true answer, don't be afraid to say it. On the other hand, give a faith-stretching yes once in a while to push outward against your boundaries and to see if they can be broadened.

Not just “people” but “persons”: When Mosaic imagined moving, we talked about the "people" we would be able to minister to and the "community" we could become part of. Now we've moved and settled, the indistinct "people" and "community" are resolving into actual persons in an actual web of relationships. In 2017, let's discipline ourselves to think in terms of actual human persons rather than "people."

Find “secular dualisms,” offer a third way: Not to over-generalize, but our society is really adept at over-generalizing. We approach large problems by reducing them to a conflict between opposing positions. Teams quickly form behind those sides, and duke it out until everyone loses. That's roughly what I mean by "secular dualisms." It's a grace-less, love-less, judgmental, legalistic approach to solving human struggles. It is generally not the way of Jesus. In 2017, let's make it a hallmark of our church that we make peace by offering third-ways between secular dualisms.

Image Credit

Parts to fix anything: Tim Lang (CC BY-NC 2.0)