tradition and innovation

Tradition and innovation go together in God’s kingdom. Jesus was Jewish. He went to synagogue “as was his tradition” and celebrated holy days such as Passover. But Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Jesus points us to a God who is able to work within institutions and to a God who is too big to be confined. – Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

I walk this line between tradition and innovation. 

I deeply love our Wesleyan heritage and how we see faith and our world. John Wesley was brilliant in the way he threw fire on a growing movement of faith and then had enough foresight to structure it in such a way that people were supported and encouraged in their new faith. But with almost every movement throughout history, its growth must be organized and structured or it turns into chaos. The exciting and free-flowing movement becomes more rigid. Some structure is necessary. But too much leads to complacency and stagnation.

Enter the United Methodist Church in present day. Our structure, rules and the Book of Discipline have pushed us into a corner. To start a new ministry it takes great effort to break through committees, funding and the status quo. Meanwhile the Holy Spirit has no boundaries and is stirring up some wonderful things as we figure out how to morph into a new kind of church.

I’m unbelievably excited to be a United Methodist pastor at this time in history. I value our rich tradition and love the permission-giving environment to innovate. I never would have thought in my first 9 months as a provisional elder that I would get to flex my creative muscles this much.

I request your prayers as we begin a new worship experience next week called Engage. We want to risk community, ask hard questions and allow God to engage us in new ways.

We honor our tradition by respecting it enough to adapt and innovate.

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