Over the years I have come to realize that not everyone values what I value – not even my own children. If we’re honest, I think we would realize that there isn’t a soul on the planet that values the same things as another person – not even my own wife! The goal of every marriage is to equally value the most important things and then seek to understand our differences. The Bible states that we should be yoked equally – especially when it comes to the most important values.
This certainly doesn’t merely apply to marriage. Everyone needs to be in community with those who value the same major things. If you have ever been in a relationship (business partnership, friendship, housing, etc.) where there is a conflict of values, you would say there is probably nothing that is more distracting and irritating than such a conflict.
I have had blisters over the years. Some of these blisters were just from getting focused on a task and neglecting how my skin felt. Some other blisters were the result of my own stupidity. The dumbest blister was the result of a little piece of gravel that had worked its way into my shoe. Rather than sit down, take my shoe off, and remove the little piece of gravel; I continued to run and hike. For the next 10 days I was reminded of my stupidity and stubbornness.
Every family, community, or relationship must regularly perform an audit on their shared values. It is like sitting down, taking off your shoes, checking your feet for gravel, checking your shoes or socks for balled up fabric, and then moving on. It would be pretty stupid to find a piece of gravel and just move it to a new spot in your shoe – which is how most of us deal with conflict in community. It is even more ridiculous to ignore the irritant – hoping it will go away!
Every year, HarvestDowntown has a rhythm of bringing the community together to remind each other of our core values and how we express these values. It is also an opportunity for the congregation to speak up about those things that are irritants. This includes everything from those in leadership to how the money is spent. It is also at these gatherings that we decide on the rules that will guide our community.
This year we want to give you the opportunity to respond to some proposed changes in our community: leadership, budget, facility, and bylaws. Next Wednesday you will receive the proposed budget changes. This Sunday you will receive the proposed bylaw changes. Last week I sent out the proposed leaders as set forth by the nominating committee. The following Tuesday, January 29 at 7:00 pm, your elders will be hosting a forum at the church for the church body to raise questions and concerns concerning the budget before we vote on Sunday, February 3.
By separating the Q&A Forum from the Annual Meeting, we allow those who have genuine concerns opportunity to express those concerns without feeling like they are holding up the bus. It also allows for your church leaders to offer complete answers to these questions and provide an honest dialogue about the proposed changes. It allows us to truly celebrate together as a family as we hear the good reports of how the church has impacted the city and world without opening a debate of which most of the church is disinterested. It also affords us the time to affirm one another and press forward in our mission.
Please put the Annual Family Meeting on your calendar for February 3. We will have a potluck breakfast that will start promptly at 9:30 with the business meeting starting at 9:45. The more traditional worship service will begin at 10:40 and will include reports from each of the church ministries. Please join us for all of the above activities as we seek to align our family values as a church family.