I've been putting this off until I could "find time" to focus for several hours, because putting together the pieces of what I do is somewhat daunting. My calendar is a rat's nest of disparate events, pivoting on a dime between two, three, or four different programs in any given day. How does one put that into a newsletter in any coherent manner? Last year I decided to draw a picture so I could explain it to people:
One person ran screaming from the room, and I never heard from him again.
But, oh, we are having so much fun!
The picture has changed a little bit since the spring, with some relationships strengthening and others
weakening. The shift in pastoral leadership at various churches has altered our landscape somewhat. Plainsboro Pres has looped itself in casually.
After I put pen to paper and scribbled out the program calendar for the next two months, I wrote a little meditation to go with it. Here ya go:
I attended a conference in October on hospitality in Christian spaces. One of the pastors there, Hikari, had taken on a ministry of feeding the congregation. She fed us throughout the conference, cooking delectable meals while the rest of us were just talking about hospitality. On Sunday she made black beans and rice for after worship lunch, and it was delicious!
I asked Hikari what she'd put in the beans, and she gave me that look reserved for people who ask absurd questions. Then she said with a smile, "It's a secret."
The truth is, there's not a lot of secret to slow cooking. Oh, your ingredients might differ from mine, but throw things into the stew pot, add some spices, and cook on low heat for a long time, and you've got a delicious meal. There's no secret to it--slow cooker meals just take a long time. Into that slow cooker pot went black beans. And spices. So there ya go.
Building relationships between youth and older generations is like slow cooking. Throw some teenagers into the pot with a few grandmas and grandpas, add a worship service and a potluck luncheon to the mix, leave it on simmer, and then wait. Wait a long time.
Have patience--it's worth it.
Slow cooking. Low heat. It starts with, "Hi, how are you?" Everybody has to promise not to run away screaming in fear. The next week it might be, "How was your week?" And then in a month or a year, "How is your family? How is school? How is your work?" Maybe over time there's an offer to help with errands or yardwork. Maybe you offer to hire a kid. Maybe you sponsor them for confirmation. Low heat, slow cooking. Relationships take time.Slow cooker church. Results in some years. We're on Holy Spirit time.