by Rev. Eric S. Anderson
It’s time to be bold, and it’s time to be inspired, and it’s time to be... Generous.
HARTFORD (09/19/2012) -- The UCC: a well-known, well-respected voice. The UCC: every congregation a welcoming, accessible community. The UCC: every member equipped to grow in faith and mission. The UCC: wealthy in prepared, excellent leaders.
Yes, I’d call these Bold, Inspirational Goals for this Church I love.
These goals, presented in April by the national Collegium of Officers, are extraordinarily ambitious. To note the challenge of just one of them: to equip every member of the denomination to grow in faith and engage in mission will require a church-wide reformation. Only recently have we begun reclaim the task of teaching the foundations of our faith, which for decades we assumed could be left to the culture in which we lived. Today, we need to teach the stories, the commitments, and the practices of Christianity; we need to answer the new disciples’ question, “How should we pray?”
Bold, Inspirational Goals indeed. And it will take Bold, Inspirational commitments to see these happen.
For some years now, government and business have adopted “more with less” as a guiding principle. The result has been steady increases in worker productivity at a pace that outstrips much of the world. We have labored to do the same in the church world as well, striving to perform the same ministries with declining numbers, of dollars, of members, and of volunteer hours. One (rather personal) example is our coverage of the National Youth Event, which includes audio, video, still photographs, and plenty of text, and it all came from one person on site in West Lafayette, Indiana.
But we will not be able to achieve these Bold, Inspirational Goals through efficiency alone. They’re BIGger than that. They’ll ask for more of us, in time, in talent, and in treasure.
That’s as it should be. We should be bigger and bolder than we have been. As precious as efficiency is, I tend to see commitment as the greater value. It’s time to do more, and it’s time to give more. It’s time to dream more, and it’s time to work more. For these great goals, it’s time to be bold, and it’s time to be inspired, and it’s time to be...
The Rev. Eric S. Anderson hopes to give both efficiently and generously of time, talent, and treasure, and, of course, in the next Fresh Edition.