When Cindy and I were married many years ago, I noticed that she had a peculiar way of ironing clothes. She would stand at the ironing board, with the wide part of the board to her left, and the pointy part of the board to the right; opposite of the way the rest of the world uses an ironing board. I asked her why she ironed this way, and she said, “I don’t know. It’s the way I learned from my mom.” One day, I asked her mom, “Why do you iron that way?” She said, “I don’t know, I learned from my mom.” A few weeks later, I asked Cindy’s grand-mother, “Why do you iron that way?” She said, “I’m left-handed.”
That made perfect sense! A left-handed person would stand at the ironing board with the wide part on their left; because that is where you rest the iron. When Cindy’s mother was young, she learned to iron that way from her mother, and when Cindy was young, she learned to iron the same way.
It’s amazing how we tend to do things the way they’ve always been done; rarely questioning “why?” or “what for?” It is the same in church life. It is very easy for us to become lulled into the belief that the way things are, are the way they’ve always been, and the only way they can be. It is not until someone comes with fresh eyes and asks, “Why are we doing it like this?” that we have the hope of seeing other possibilities.
We call these “outcome conversations.” What is the intended outcome of what we’re doing? For example, “We have swiss steak dinners so that….” “Our UMW meets during the day on weekdays so that….” “We host VBS every summer so that….” The mission statement for us as an annual conference is “To make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” All that we do as a church needs to be with that end in mind. All that we do needs to be so that disciples of Jesus Christ are made and matured for the transformation of the world.
An encouragement to all of us in the church, to look at what we do, how we’ve done it, and ask ourselves, “We do this so that…” It will help to clear out much of the clutter of what we’ve always done, and focus our time, energy and resources on the mission of the church.
Canal District Office:
Rev. Ed Peterson
800 E. Market St.
Akron, OH 44305
Phone: (330) 252-0299
Fax: (330) 252-0297
Monday through Thursday
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
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