M-Note 7.2.2021

There is no question that the past year has been a challenging one. But, it has also been an energizing one for me. Ironically, when everything you normally do is taken away, you have to be creative. When the way you do things is restricted, you must imagine new ways of doing things. Crisis breeds creativity. When normal is disrupted, there is new permission to think, rethink, and experiment with new ways of doing things.
I have spent so much time the past year thinking, praying, reflecting, talking, zooming, reading, writing, and working on what God might be trying to say to us, and where God might be leading our church. As we have returned to in person worship over the past two months, I have been listening intently to what the past year was like for many of you and how the church can best serve in the midst of that. I have done this informally through conversations. I have even gathered our board and our staff to ask the same questions. I don’t know all the answers yet, but I know that God is doing something significant with The Gathering through this, and that the next two years are going to be an exciting time for our church.
As a vision begins to clarify, I am preparing to take some time away for intentional discernment. Sometimes I can be so busy working in the church that I don’t make time to work on the church. Do you know what I mean? We all wrestle with this. Sometimes we spend so much time moving from thing-to-thing in our life that we don’t make time to step back, evaluate, reconsider, and listen for the voice of God. I am a big believer that God is constantly speaking to us and nudging us. But, I often do not make time to listen.
So, I will spend some time away to listen this July. I will be in worship this weekend, but our site pastors will be preaching in the following weeks. They will be starting a new series on July 11th called Get Up, based on a book by the same title written by our own Pastor Charity Goodwin. On July 11, Charity will be preaching live at each of our locations (and you will not want to miss it).  This weekend, we will be finishing our series Real: The Power of Vulnerability and (drum roll please) finally be offering coffee again at all of our sites!
I love my job, so it is always a little hard to be out for a few weeks. But, I also know it is important for me personally and for the work I do here at The Gathering. It is also important for you to do the same. I encourage all of you to find ways and time to not just work in your life, but to work on your life. Maybe it is a morning each week, a day away, a vacation, or maybe just some quiet time that you build into your day. Whatever it looks like, my guess is God is trying to speak to you, as well. We all could do a better job of stopping and listening.
Have a great holiday weekend, and I will see you in worship on Sunday to begin your 4th of July festivities…with coffee!
P.S. In July, we are launching EXPLORE Groups: a 5 week small group experience especially geared toward those of you that are relatively new at The Gathering. In these groups, we will be learning about some of the basics of the Christian faith and how we understand those basics here at The Gathering. We will explore our beliefs around the Bible and Jesus and will learn more about United Methodism and why we are connected to this denomination. Not only will you learn more about The Gathering, EXPLORE Groups are a great opportunity to meet others. EXPLORE Groups will meet in-person at McCausland beginning July 12 or over Zoom beginning July 14. You can sign up here or email Denee Bowers if you have any questions.

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