Today's article comes from Sam Fritz. Sam is a member of Risen Lord Lutheran Church and serves on the Redevelopment Team. He and his wife Shannon have two children, Sophie and Simon. Sam is also the band teacher at Center Grove Middle School Central.
Have you ever bought or been shopping for a new car when you begin to notice that particular car everywhere? Maybe you were talking about getting married and it seems that everyone around you was doing the same. Perhaps you were looking to get a new pet and every commercial on TV and the radio seems to focus on pet food, toys, and stores. This is not in fact happening, yet you are just noticing these things more. It is called "the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon". Obviously those red cars were there all along and I had just never taken the time to see them in the parking lots and traveling the same roads as I. The same can be true with ignoring the obvious things right in front of your face, quite literally. I got a new pair of glasses a couple years ago that had blue frames on the inside of the glasses. The blue was very annoying...for about one day. I know the blue never went away, but I stopped seeing it. My brain determined it was unimportant information and stopped noticing it. Sometimes I wonder if we all are just waiting for someone to bring things in our lives to the forefront of our brains so "the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon" can help us see what has been there all along. I bet you have experienced "the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon" in your own life. In fact, I know because we have examples of them right here at Risen Lord. Your redevelopment team, of which I am a part, spent some time at our last meeting outlining what we called “bright spots.” Bright spots are evidence of change in our church put into purposeful motion by your leadership teams (i.e. council, elders, redevelopment). I wanted to take some time and share a few of them with you, how I know they are real, and hopefully get you to see a parking lot full of red cars! First understand that ideally all decisions and actions taken by all RL leadership teams are filtered through our mission: “sharing God’s love through words and actions”. We again apply another filter of decision-making - balancing our church's actions “in, out and up.” In other words, we look for areas in our church to change and make sure both our mission and vision are supported while keeping a focus on all aspects. Let’s talk about the worship service itself to begin. I am sure you have noticed that we have settled on a service that feels comfortable. There is a flow and structure that can be anticipated, and followed without much deviation. Within the service, you notice the readings are much longer and I admitted to Pastor Lecia that I groaned internally the first few times she did this. Then, something she said hit me right in the stomach. She said that most people who will be coming to our church as guests, statistically speaking, will have not grown up in a church. This means the short little Bible verses as we have done in the past have no story behind them for those not brought up reading the Bible. In order for our new and current members to connect “up” we need to feed their souls during service. Adding the full readings, gives context and meaning to the verses. Anyone that attends our church can clearly see the connection between the scripture reading, children’s message, hymns & songs, and sermon, if you know it is there on purpose. Secondly, I want to discuss our vision for “in”. In talking about bright spots there were many here; Third Thursdays, First Sundays, Tuesdays Nights Together, Lunch and Learns, Journey Groups, Bible Studies, and Kids' area in the Sanctuary are all examples of how we are trying to connect to one another. Have you noticed that it seems that everyone looks forward to the sharing of the peace each Sunday? I know that for my kids, they look forward to a hug from Miss Marge and gentle smile and handshake from Miss Ginny, a smile and a nod from Mr. Jim as he plays beautifully on piano, and of course a gregarious bear hug from Pastor Lecia. Who do you look forward to connecting with? If you have not taken time to join “in” for one of our social gatherings, we would love to have you. Finally, we are working to connect “out” in our community. Have you noticed (here I am trying to stimulate "the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon" again) that we have focused our OUTreach in three areas? We have committed to supporting the Interchurch Food Pantry of Johnson County, Fast Track (distributes school supplies for families in need), and God’s Work Our Hands. We could also count our Lunch and Learns and Tuesday Nights Together as they are opportunities to invite others to our church. Have you noticed the signs and flyers around church for these OUTreach programs? Have you made a donation or attended any or all? Your redevelopment team has a large list of other bright spots and any of us would be happy to share more if you are interested. It is our hope that you can use “the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon” to see the changes we have instituted so far in redevelopment. We pledge to continue to form our church family around our mission and vision. What bright spots do you see in our new Risen Lord Lutheran Church? How can you bring them to my or other’s attention so we can all “see” how we Share God’s Love Through Words and Actions? Share them with me by email or in person or on our Facebook page! Sam Fritz