Jabbok Dawn

Tumbling in the Sand

Sidewalk flowers: Experiments

Reflections for Lent 2019 – Day 9

I really hate it when an experiment is an unmitigated failure. Of course, I’m sure you could argue that an experiment is never a failure if you learn something from it. I get that. And yet…

With lots of reflection over the course of this past year, we thought we would try flipping around our Wednesday evening schedule for Lent. We wanted young families to be able to stay for worship. We thought it would be a good idea to keep our regular Wednesday night worship time. We thought that people were committed enough to stay for the communiversity classes (really awesome classes that many volunteers and our staff put together for Lent). So, we flipped it. Soup supper 6pm, worship 7:17pm, and classes at 8pm.

Well that was a bad idea. And yes, those who would like, are free to tell me that they told me so.

Last night was a great example of why I love Good Shepherd and how you can mess up a really good thing. Soup supper was wonderfully attended. The soups were incredible. The volunteers who put it together did a great job. Community was wonderful (I was doing too much running around to enjoy it, but I could sense it — it’s always good to be together).

Worship was okay, I think. It’s always hard to tell when you’re leading. Both of our musicians and I are sick. I and Elaina seem well enough to drag ourselves around, but Brian ended up not being able to make it. So, we were blessed to have William, who was on break from college, come and help with worship and assist with communion and serve as cantor. That is always a delight. Though, not very many families with younger kids stayed for the service.

Classes, well, that didn’t go so well. Those who stuck around had a good time. I am grateful to Rich for all his prep work for his class on prayer and I had fun discussing the seven last words with those who came. Lots of people didn’t stay. And that’s not fair to the volunteers who put lots of work into preparing these classes. Also, it just didn’t feel right at the end. Classes just kind of end and we don’t gather together again to pray and say farewell for the evening. I just didn’t like it — and neither did anyone else I spoke to.

So, next week, we’re going back to the way it used to be. Soup 6:00pm, Classes, 7:00pm, and Worship at 8:00pm. This is the one REALLY GREAT thing about an experiment. If it doesn’t work, you don’t need to keep doing it.

A few things I learned out of all of this:

  1. Don’t mess with something that is actually working. (This I really do know, but sometimes I can’t leave good enough alone!)
  2. Even if people at Good Shepherd are committed to growing in their faith, it’s way too late for class at 8pm, while worship is a little more doable.
  3. A corollary to number 2 … the energy that I need for worship vs class as a leader is the opposite of people attending worship and class. (I find leading class something I don’t need near as much focus or energy for as I do for worship)
  4. God is still good.
    • God shows up with little blessings (like William) when we just can’t.
    • God shows up with little disruptions (We had to reschedule Brian’s class, but with attendance, it was good to just have two classes for better discussion.)
    • God shows up with beautiful, faithful conversation between wonderful people over coloring (that happened in my class and I have no doubt it happened in the other class, too … well, not the coloring part, but the discussion part)

Here’s to learning from mistakes. And to trying again next week!

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