Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away… The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. (Joshua 3:15-16a, 17 NIV)
On April 21, 2018, close to 50 Creeksiders gathered early on a Saturday morning to learn how to get less comfortable.
It was a strange subject, to be sure, but a vital one for our church. Comfort comes from things that are familiar, stable, what we’re used to. But Creekside has made a commitment to revitalize, which means that change is coming. At the EPIC workshop (Empowering People, Inspiring Change), our church family gathered to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we might be heading. Following are some reflections on the experience from the Vitality team.
A lot of us weren’t sure exactly what we were getting into when we showed up. The workshop turned out to be not justabout individuals dealing with change, but also about the lifecycle of all churches—which was all to the good! Since the first step on the Vitality pathway, the Veritas workshop, happened at Creekside more than two years ago, we spent time at EPIC reviewing some of what it covered. We again identified Creekside primarily as a stable church with some missional markers that are healthier than others. This review was valuable to frame the rest of the conversation around moving from a good place to a great one.
Frequently throughout the day, we talked in small groups around our individual tables, then shared something from that discussion with the larger group. The workshop facilitators got plenty of practice running around with the handheld microphone! Attendees reported that these conversations held some of the greatest value from the workshop, simply because we got to see that we are all excited about where Creekside has been and where we’re going.
What I most appreciated learning at EPIC was the analogy of the church as a living organism. Humans are constantly shedding old cells and creating new ones to renew our bodies. In fact, if you can’t renew, you’ll die! Seeing change—in our bodies and in the body of Christ—as natural, healthy, even necessary, is an outlook that I want to remember when I encounter my natural resistance to change.
We also talked about a Bible story that represents Creekside’s story. The Vitality team selected Joshua 3, in which the Israelites cross the Jordan River on dry ground to reach the Promised Land. Creekside passed a point of no return when we bought our current building, a story that is full of God’s divine work. We are now seeking God’s will to find out how he wants us to serve in the place to which he’s brought us.
Remembering our past helps propel us into the future. More than simply learning how we can adapt to change, many of us left EPIC with excitement to see what the future will hold for us as a church. We can’t wait to join you on the journey!
Abigail’s email address is in the directory.