When I was in school, I always looked forward to field trips. Not for the usual reasons, believe me I really didn't have a burning desire to see rock formation on my Earth Science field trip. But it was the chance to see all of the usual players in a different setting, a chance to get outside of the box that school put you in. Field trips where a chance to see people for who they were in the real world, not in the artificial construct of school.
I am going on a church field trip today. It is Conference time again...that signals another trip around the seasons, in the church year. In my mind and heart this is a time to reflect and to think about what has gone on this year. Conference is a bit like field trips were like in high school and college, it is a time to get out of the box, and see thing from a different perspective.
Especially the New England Conference of the Free Methodist church...conference is a time to see beyond the edges of the confines of the limited construct of the local church. It is the chance to see how God is working across the cultures that separate God's people. It is a chance to experience a unity in diversity that is the fabric of our church. Let's not mention the food...brothers and sisters but that is another reason for making the field trip.
This year in LSCC it has been a year of gathering strength and of solidifying gains made. We have done building things and we are going to see our first person start on the road to ordination this conference.
So the coming year is a time when we need to take a field trip with God. A time to get out of the usual constructs of what church, The Kingdom, and our past view of what God is doing in our lives. It is a time to create a new construct, a new paradigm not of the past and the glory days long gone, but of a new day of God's blessing. I am sure that blessing will not be anything like what I can describe, and everything like it at the same time.
A new construct that views church not as a building but a people given over to God. A new paradigm that is not fear based, or guilt based, or limiting in any way what God can do. Can God use a guy dressed up like a rabbit...absolutely. Does God want us to stretch and move outside of the constructs of the past? Absolutely.
I am trusting that the beginning of that new year, that new construct, that new paradigm of what God's work looks like is going to start on a field trip to Conference that starts in motion a field trip with God.