I see commercials sometimes that refer to these as “uncertain times”. I don’t know. I think things are becoming pretty certain. I think it’s pretty certain that we’re suffering, pretty certain that our neighbors and families are sick and dying, pretty certain that we’ll be living in troubled spaces for a long time coming. Pretty certain that our churches will be operating in a different way for a while. Not to say that everything about these times is always bad – more about that later on. But these times aren’t uncertain. It is certain that everything is being deconstructed. It is certain that the future is uncertain – but now seems pretty certain to me.
Because we’ve reached a level of certainty, your work as a congregational leader is clearer. Your congregation has a purpose in the world, yes? What is it? Now that you’ve identified what your purpose is, how will you live out that purpose in this year to come? This is the question that should be forefront this summer and fall as your Board re-energizes for its work in the coming church year. (And if you’re feeling depleted, get some rest now! We need you!)
Your congregation’s week-to-week operations are like a car that is going somewhere, a place that is better for your people and your world than where it is now. This past spring, everyone’s car broke down entirely. The wheels fell off and the engine blew. Luckily for all of us, we’re still going somewhere, and we’re still us. What new vehicle do you need now? How will you go about imagining it and getting it? How can you construct a vehicle that gets you where you’re going so well that you might never want that broken-down car again, even when it’s back from the shop? How can you use this time of openness, of experimentation, of curiosity, to be even better at what you do than ever before?
I hope you’ll want to answer these questions in a wide community of other UU leaders doing similar work. We think working together makes things more fun and easier. If you do too, don’t miss the chance to sign up for both the August 22nd workshop on Leading Change in Changing Times (great for Board members) and the upcoming year long series we’re calling Retooling for the New Reality, dates to be announced. Drop in on a regional call for congregational leaders at your convenience and meet some neighbors. Keep in touch with your primary contact for information and resources. We’re all in this crazy, mixed up, turbulent, frightening, promising, certain time together. Together we will build what we need to arrive at a new future that’s better for all of us.