Charge to the Congregation for the Installation of The Rev. Dr. Daniel R. Anderson-Little as Pastor of Legacy Presbyterian Church, Frisco, Texas; October 1, 2017
Ministry today is often more about asking good questions than providing answers. Recent research says that congregations who, like Legacy, want to reach out to Millennials and their families need to ask themselves some good questions—questions such as:
• Is our church authentic? Younger generations are looking for transparency and honesty.
• Does our church embrace social media and communicate digitally? Another good question.
• Does our church create space for rest? We love to get stuff done. Feeding the hungry and building habitat houses is wonderful and important work. But in our fast-paced, fragmented culture, people are equally in need of spirituality and a space to let go of their burdens and stresses.
When I first met the members of the Nominating Committee last May, we went to Babe’s for dinner. The family-style meal embodied the characteristics found in these three questions. It gave us a chance to build authentic relationships and to communicate our needs, as we decided upon and shared our food. We took pictures so we could connect with others on social media. The occasion provided a respite from the stresses of the job interview and our respective daily lives, as we got to know one another at a deeper level.
At one point, I excused myself to find the restroom. On my way back to the table, a whole line-up of waitstaff were doing the Hokey-Pokey. Not realizing that this was a staff-only performance, I jumped onto the end of the line and joined them in singing and dancing the Hokey-Pokey. You remember that last verse, don’t you, put in your whole self in? I need you get up and sing it with me!
You put your whole self in, you put your whole self out, you put your whole self in, and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey-Pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about!
This begs one more question as we engage in the mission of the church: What if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about?
• You’ve gotta put your whole self in, Legacy, your whole, authentic, transparent and honest self—successes and struggles, hopes and fears, convictions and questions.
• You’ve gotta put your whole self in, Legacy, with social media, creating multiple points of connection throughout the week rather than just on Sunday mornings.
• And you’ve gotta put your whole self in, Legacy, with being as well as doing, engaging in your own spiritual growth, and creating space at church for rest and sabbath.
• Most of all, you’ve gotta put your whole self in, Legacy, and shake it all about—shake out and shake off what doesn’t work, learn from it, move on, and try again. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), but everything else can be reimagined.
For we believe in a turnaround God who turns blindness around into sight!
We believe in a turnaround God who turns sinners around into disciples!
We believe in a turnaround God who turns death around into resurrection and new life!
So my charge to you is simple, Legacy Presbyterian Church of Frisco, Texas: Do the Hokey-Pokey—because today, that’s what ministry is all about!
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