- From Church in Overland Park Reinvents Itself
After that I will pour out my spirit upon everyone; your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. (Joel 2.28)
When there’s no vision, the people get out of control, but whoever obeys instruction is happy. (Proverbs 29.18)
There is still a vision for the appointed time; it testifies to the end; it does not deceive. If it delays, wait for it; for it is surely coming; it will not be late. (Habakkuk 2.3)
Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? (Isaiah 43.18f.)
- All scripture CEB
The vision & mission that have emerged from our Discernment Retreats have been given initial expression in a Future Story; that is to say, OPCC’s future story in narrative form. Our story is entitled Church in Overland Park Reinvents Itself, and it looks back on our situation from some unspecified point in the future. If you have begun to read and reflect on the story, you know that it describes a vital, dynamic, and courageous faith community that has identified its core values and undertaken the hard work required to live into them. I find it exciting to read (and reread!) the story, because I love the progressive and confident stance this community takes toward faith, the spiritual life, and the lived expression of faith in community service and the ongoing work for justice. You can readily recognize the faith community that has been molded through the past six decades; and yet the community is altogether new and exhilarating. I’m more than ready for this future, I desire to be a part of this faith community, and I pray you do as well.
One key passage in our future story looks back to a precise moment in the life of the faith community we call Overland Park Christian Church, and traces its development from that starting point. I have cited the passage in the heading above. Please read it again, and notice one particular statement, “A few years ago, right after we’d renovated our Sanctuary, our congregation got together and realized this was God’s plan for us. All the energy you see here sort of sprouted from that moment.”
If that description sounds more than vaguely familiar, it’s because we stand at that seminal moment now. This Is the Moment! We are the congregation that is commended for realizing God’s plan for their mission and ministry. We are the folks who are recognized for summoning the courage to embrace the plan and live into it day by day. We are the oh so very human group on which this future hinges. We may not sense ourselves up to the task; we might even wish that someone else – anyone else – would insure this promising future. But there is no one else to stand tall and courageous, and dare to envision a church reinvented, a church recreated. As the comic strip character Pogo used to say, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
Needless to say, the decisions we take in the next few months will have a tremendous effect on the future of this faith community. So I encourage you to be prayerfully discerning in your consideration of this unique story, and seek the grace to embrace it without fear. In our worship gatherings for the next several weeks, you will have opportunities to spend time in prayer and reflection at the future story display set up in the overflow room of our worship space. When you are ready – and not before – when you discern the willingness to embrace this vision, indicate that by writing on what will be our future vision banner. You may inscribe a prayer for our congregation, you may add a scripture passage that addresses the task at hand, a poetic image that reflects our situation, and you may even write your name if you choose.
I can’t help but wonder; when the fearless reporter in the story leaves our building after being awed and impressed by the congregation it houses, will the reporter see only the two signs specified in the narrative, or will the reporter also see a worn but proud hand-drawn banner on which we have left our mark?