Change is inevitable, growth is intentional –Colin Wilson

Such was one of the quotes we discussed together as a small group gathered at the Brunson's home on Tuesday night last week. Gathered together in the spirit of stewardship season as our theme is "An Intentional Life" we talked about the ways that we've each been both intentional in our life practices . . . and not.

As we sat around the long dinning room table and shared with one another stories from our own journeys, I could help but think about a theme that has been present in several of my conversations both in and outside the church lately. "Does life get better than this?" people muse with me. "Or, must I simply resolve that this is all there is?"

Every time I've heard this question raised, a part of me has cringed on the inside because of what it says about hope. To be moving in life without hope-- to believe the pain we feel in the present and the countless ways our lives have not turned out like we'd planned is the essence of life-- seems to be giving up too soon.

I often hear people saying similar things about our church. We'll never be this or that . . .  and it makes my heart hurt every time I hear it because it means folks are giving up dreaming thinking that what they see in front of them is ALL there is.

On Saturday morning, a group of us gathered ironically around the same table (thank you Brunsons again!). This time it was the church council planning retreat. We set our dreams first of what we'd like to see happen in the church in 2012 and then took a step back and said to each other we are going to be intentional to do this activity and lay aside the rest for later.

It was a freeing exercise I believe for all of us. Freeing because it allowed us to move in hope and not feel overwhelmed. While there are a lot of really GOOD things that all of us want to do (and usually it is the dreaming types that are in leadership positions in the first place), we simply can't do it all and keep going as a congregation. Putting our best foot forward often means taking a two steps back and those two steps really aren't so bad.

So, as our group drafted our 2012 intentions in areas of worship, fellowship and mission activities, we said to each other as church leaders that our little and mighty congregation is full of hope. And it is hope that we keep on keeping on and move forward.