A while back Outlook updated and changed itself all around. Outlook didn’t ask my permission to do this. Instead, it expected me to embrace with joy the changes it imposed to my email. I should be delighted to unlearn and relearn. I should be excited about the fact nothing looked like it had looked. I should be able to follow new directions with no hesitation and want all the new features for which I had not asked. Clearly, Outlook believed it was making these changes for my own good.
The nerve! Why couldn’t they leave well-enough alone? Change for changes’ sake is great for kids but I’m a grown up. I wanted my email to look and work the way it had before the changes. I wanted no surprises. I believed I shouldn’t have to change if I didn’t want to change. And if I’m paying for it I should have some control. Shouldn’t I?
I shared this with a very wise pastor friend who listened to my tale of outrage and then said, “Hmmmm….do you suppose that is how folks feel when we change things at church?”
All of a sudden I was on the other end of the change continuum……..the one pressing for change, switching things up with the order of worship. The one making changes for our own good. I was happier being mad at Outlook than I was relating how I felt about email changes to how others might feel about Sunday morning worship changes.
Change is hard. Change can also bring a breath of fresh air into the room. Change can make us mad but it can also wake us up to new possibilities and give us new tools to engage our challenges.
I begin sabbatical in July 1. My sabbatical study is to visit as many different worship services in our community as I can. How do they do things? What is the experience of hospitality like? Is their signage adequate? Is navigating worship there clear? Is it a place I feel welcome? Do they use media? How do they use media? What is the music like? How do I relate to the message? What is their visitor follow-up like?
The outcome of this sabbatical experience may bring changes to our Sunday morning worship. I hope it won’t create the angry reaction I had to the imposed Outlook changes. But truth be told, things change and the pace of change is coming at breathtaking speed in our world.
May our worship be rich, relevant, fresh, tradition-based, and honoring to God in all ways. We will trust the Holy Spirit to help us hold steady even as we journey on a way we can’t quite see. And may our church witness to the goodness of God in ways beyond what we can even imagine now.
Blessings as you navigate the changes in your life!
Rev. Marcia Hagee
She graduated from Duke University and the University of Missouri-Columbia studying Psychology and Religion. She earned her M. Div at Phillips Theological Seminary and was ordained by the Oklahoma Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).