by Steve Matthews
Are you familiar with the Cactus League or the Grapefruit League? Well, it’s the time of year when professional baseball teams (and usually their fans) flock to Arizona (Cactus) and Florida (Grapefruit) to train and play in these regional short-term leagues in preparation for the real games later in the spring. I’ve never been to spring training, but I understand it is a fun and exciting time and a unique time to see your favorite players up close (and maybe get an autograph or two).
What is your congregation training for these days? Are you having any fun? Where is the excitement? For over a year we have spent a lot of time in reaction mode trying to recalculate and adjust based on new realities. I wonder what we have learned about agility, adaptability, new technology, communication, patience, and negotiation. In the months ahead we will continue to adapt to Covid’s new realities. The skills we have learned will continue to be part of our training, and what proactive training do we need to be incorporating into our communal life? Who knows what the season to come will be like for us, but the call to co-create a playing field where God’s justice and joyous communion is primary and “the dignity of every human being” (and all beings) is honored never ceases.
Perhaps we could think about our communal life as “spring training.” What would it be like to claim a season where you re-engage your faith community’s values with lively energy? Maybe you could even adopt a sense of play and celebration that has been so sorely wanting in the past year. Of course these are still hard and challenging times, but can we believe that even now we are leaning in toward our best days, toward a “winning season” – a season not marked by our achievements or by any scorecard but instead by the way we show up for one another and our neighbors with God’s transforming love?
Look to your community for partners, look to your neighbors for resources, and remember FaithX can also provide you value-driven data and informed consultation to help you innovatively plan for the upcoming season… including our upcoming webinars.