The Next Step Is….??

Our two congregations are essentially on the same path of discerning what it is we are called next to accomplish for the Reign of God through our ministry. GSJ spent an entire calendar year in a formalized discernment process and HR begins a similar process in October. What strikes me as absolutely critical for both congregations is to move beyond the daydreaming into taking concrete steps toward the goals we come to perceive and embrace. Taking action, moving forward on our desires–these things act as fuel for our larger vision, propelling us toward new horizons. We need concrete, measurable things to strive for because without those things we stagnate and become stuck in ruts of habit. We often don’t know what to do next. Goals are the dreams that we are willing to work for and toward, and when we set goals, we take responsibility for our individual lives as well as the corporate life we share. God has planted visions and dreams in our hearts, so it’s important that we wholeheartedly devote ourselves to these aspirations. Even if we only take the smallest steps toward achieving our ambitions, it is vital that we actively engage in the pursuit of our goals, rather than just daydreaming about them. This is what having a purpose-driven church is all about!

When we pray and work to achieve clear and quantifiable goals, our choices and actions take on new significance. Consciously creating our goals based on the voice of God that is constantly speaking to each one of us can help ensure that the success we seek is attainable and that they serve God first and foremost. Our plan must be conceivable, tangible, and measurable. If we cannot visualize our goal in some detail or believe that we can realize them, we won’t really commit to the goals or the necessary steps needed to achieve them. That’s why as we develop a strong sense of mission and develop specific goals, they need to be clear and they need to make us feel emotionally attached to them. This is also the reason companies and other organizations write down and even publish their goals: putting them into words keeps the intentions fresh in our hearts and minds and reminds us of our moral purpose.

As we make progress toward realizing our goals we will find satisfaction in knowing we were simply doing our job as servants of Our God, as sisters and brothers of Jesus. And when we find ourselves stuck or uncertain how to proceed, we can together examine ways in which we can revise our strategies so our understanding of God’s vision can be made manifest.

In coming months, we will together begin creating goals for our church; we will begin creating a future by consciously engaging in the work of making our destiny come to life. When we choose our goals using our head and our heart, we take the first step in manifesting what God wants from us. In effect what we are saying to God is that we stand ready to work for the granting of our own wishes in line with God’s dream of who and what we are to become.

So, having said all that, what I need right now from each of you reading this is PRAYER. Pray for the unfolding of our future according to God’s design. Reach out to those who have fallen out of the habit of being part of our community of faith. Invite people to come share breakfast and worship with us. In all the surveys of church membership done in this country in the past decade, 90% of active church members say they became involved because of a personal connection to someone else in the congregation. That is significant! So, pray for the courage to be bold and talk to someone about who we are and how God is engaging us in the process of building the Kingdom.

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About frmichelrcc

I have a degree in religious studies from the University of Wisconsin, did graduate work in theology at St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin, and also at St. Paul's University in Ottawa. I have been a Benedictine since I first professed as an oblate in 1982, making final profession in 2009. I have worked as vocations director in a large diocese in the mid-west and am a spiritual director in the Benedictine tradition. I have 3 sons, one of whom is now in God's loving embrace in eternity, and 2 grandsons, Bradley and Jacob.
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