We read in Genesis 12 how God called Abram to “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” In other words, leave everything that you know behind and follow God to a completely unknown future. Then came the promise, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing … and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
This is where the concept of “blessed to be a blessing” comes from. Trust in God. Follow where God leads. God will bless you and, in being blessed, you will be a blessing to others. And what does it mean to be blessed? It doesn’t mean a life free of struggle and full of material wealth and success. It means a life lived in the awareness of God’s love, goodness, mercy and peace. It means having a God-connected heart that enables you to sense the presence of God in and around you, in everything from nature to circumstances to people. It means recognizing the gifts God has given you and using those gifts to facilitate the God-connection in others.
For us as Christians, our God connection is guaranteed through our faith in Jesus Christ, sealed in the waters of Baptism. We have the promise of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and the power to pass this blessing along.
So where am I going with this?
On Jan. 17, our council and Mutual Ministry Team met via phone and internet with a representative from Holy Cow! Consulting to hear the results of the Congregational Assessment Tool survey that 76 of our members completed in November – a return rate of a little over 50 percent. For more than two hours, she guided us through 50 pages of results, charts, graphs and analysis revealing a lot of strengths, but also some areas for growth and areas on which our members think we should focus more of our energy.
The council will review the report at our February meeting and determine how to best make the information available to everyone and, more importantly, how to best utilize the information in our future planning.
Here’s the GOOD news
For me, the biggest take away is that we are truly blessed as a congregation with what the CAT identifies as both high enthusiasm and high energy. According to the executive summary provided by Holy Cow! Consulting, “Overall, approximately 74% of your members are clearly satisfied with things in the church. This, along with other information, indicates that the church has options which include growth, expansion, replication and external impact.” In other words, we are not in chaos, recovery or static mode, but rather in “transformative” mode – a strong position to be a source of new meaning and purpose for our members and those outside our walls.
We are blessed to be a blessing!
The challenge before us now is where to go from here to keep our own God-connectedness strong – as individuals and as a congregation – and how to continue extending God’s blessings in the world around us. Stay tuned!