John Wesley and other church reformers, all danced on the edge of the authority their churches gave them. They stayed connected with their faith communities while at the same time following God’s call to move beyond what was expected. Every sanctuary you’ve worshipped in, every beach service you have ever attended, every youth or children’s ministry that shaped your life, every music group/choir that has caused your soul to soar, every church camp you’ve ever been to, every outreach our church has accomplished (Snack Pack Program, Saturday Fellowship Meal, etc.) – all of these things came to fruition because some leader (either a pastor or lay person) dared to say YES.
How can we continue to enrich the lives of folks while giving permission to try new things for new people? Perhaps we should dare to say yes! Recently I read a quote from Wayne Gretsky, the championship hockey player: “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you never take.”
I have an idea. It stems from Tina Faye’s book “Bossypants” when she is talking about the rules of improvisation. The first rule is to say “yes.” The second rule is to say “yes, and…” You are supposed to agree and add something of your own – no matter how crazy, outlandish or stupid the scenario. A great improvisational actor says, “Yes, and.” When you hesitate even for one second or acknowledge how implausible or crazy the scenario is, the scene is over.
It seems to me the church’s response is never really, “Yes, and” but rather a hesitation or saying “we tried that before.” (which as we all know doesn’t work for Harmony UMC because we’ve NEVER done ANYTHING together before!!) Here is a crazy idea – what if our church started approaching new ministry ideas with, “Yes, and”? What if, in our talking about Share, Connect, Serve, Grow, we encouraged people to start sentences with, “This might be crazy, …” and instead of instantly dismissing the thoughts, we said, “Yes, and” and built upon that crazy idea. That crazy idea just might be the catalyst for a new fruit-filled journey for our church!
The Beach service might not be your thing. That’s okay. Organ music might not be your thing. That’s okay. When we weigh our limitations, balk or hesitate because another’s experience of God is different than our own, perhaps we’re forgetting that with God, all things are possible. Lets ask instead: 1. Is it sharing the unconditional love of God? 2. Is it connecting people with God and others? 3. Is it serving compassionately? 4. Is it helping someone grow on their faith journey?
I would much rather be the person that God works through rather than the person God has to work around. What can I say “Yes, and” to? Email or call me or the leadership council with your “This might be crazy” idea! Let’s see what God can do!