August 31, 2022 (258/365)

End of the month, and I’m around a quarter of an hour away from holding a prayer meeting with the team I handle for church ministry. It’s wild that we’ve stepped up in our game – I mean, for the longest time, we’ve been under a senior pastor for the afternoon service, and our identity – more like our function – was more or less limited to just the afternoon service. What I mean by us stepping up our game is that we’ve collectively taken responsibility for the said service, and it seems we’re moving to hit more goals – not just to pull off a good service every Sunday afternoon.

How did it all begin? Well, the pandemic happened. March 2020 was the start of the lockdowns, and this meant that we also cancelled our church services. In an attempt to adjust our overall senior minister recorded messages every Sunday morning, and that more or less served as our continued effort to bless the community. See, before this we weren’t giving much heed to online services, but now we had no other choice but to go online.

As if it wasn’t unfortunate enough that the pandemic froze our lives, 2 months after the lockdowns began, the senior minister I mentioned… well, he passed away. It was good that we had a little more freedom to mobilize as a response, and there was an abrupt change in leadership – his son took over. This new senior minister proceeded to make changes I believe he thought were long overdue. See, following his unanimous promotion he also did some change in leadership of his own – As I remember, the lead pastor for the afternoon service was going to be assigned to another service in the morning, and with no other available elders or ministers to take his place… that’s where I stepped in.

For a moment I played the proxy – I assumed it was only going to be a matter of time before I was replaced, but with no other elders or ministers in sight, it appeared as if this was going to be a role I would be taking for the long term. And so, approximately a year later, it was made official. Our overall senior minister pushed for each service to establish their own identity and to show it by way of branding (which seemed to be the hot topic in his circles at the time)… and so, the Aces were made known.

I will never forget – or, I guess I will keep reminding myself and the team – that I chose to call us ‘Aces’, the same way the Ace has two values in Black Jack – it could be a 1, or it could be an 11. The Ace is a crucial part of the smallest or the highest Straight in Poker. We call ourselves the Aces because we strive to be whatever we need to be in a given situation.

It’s like an example I always give. Picture the moments right before our afternoon service, and imagine that the only person in the worship venue was our media guy. Also, imagine that the rest of the team, including myself, were all on the way, and in one car for some reason… and imagine that it crashes, and we all die. The media guy who’s usually serving his own function, he knows to step up and to lead the congregation into worship, even if it takes just him to do it… and then, imagine we miraculously come back to life, the car is instantly restored, and we actually make our way to the worship venue – the media guy would know to cede his function and to go back to regular programming.

I’m feeling shades of what I wrote about at another time – shades of resiliency, mitigation and especially adaptation, while I put this elaboration down into writing. But that’s who I imagined my Aces to be – ready to give their best and their all, and willing to adjust at any given moment.

It’s been more than a year since we called ourselves the Aces, and I think that we’ve shown ourselves as great adaptors, being able to fix issues within our team, adjusting to what we could not change… and, apparently, being able to assist other teams with their own adjustments. Unique as they are, I am thankful for each and every one on my team, for their loyalty to me, and more importantly, for their commitment to what we’re currently formulating, day in and day out, as the Aces’ mindset.

From one point of view you could say that we had our main struggles – there was barely anyone who came to support us by way of joining our congregation. We knew in our ‘reboot’ as the Aces that we were stepping away from the mindset, attitude, and more importantly, the people who established and built the years, and even decades-old afternoon service – we understood that there may be some people who wouldn’t like what’s new, but we didn’t expect an all-out boycott. But see, again, that’s an assumption, one we make from a point of view that absolutely must emphasize struggles. Honestly, the team and I were totally fine if we were leading 2 or 3 people into worship – we thought it was because of the pandemic and all that. It didn’t stop us from giving our best, each and every time.

These days I’ve been very thankful. It still comes to me as a surprise that the people who started to come ever since our first months as the Aces – well, they’re still around, and apparently, they brought friends, and these friends brought their own families. I’m surprised because I still maintain how I speak in English in my sermons, something that I think would have put off a good number of people. I’m also surprised because I’m basically just saying the same thing, pushing the same point each and every Sunday – that is, to focus and inevitably give thanks to God for Christ and His finished work. Apparently this gives some confirmation to our claim that unlike anything else in this world, we never grow sick of the infinite and eternal Salvation we have in Christ – precisely because it’s infinite and eternal, and therefore could be seen in all things.

Okay if you haven’t noticed yet I’m building on what we talked about when I was with Pastor Joedy yesterday. I’m trying to come up with some sort of vision for myself and my Aces; in the process I’m considering hindsight (what has been), and I’m pretty sure I’m in evaluation of insight (what’s going on right now)… but part of me just wants to stay here. It’s nice to stay in the present.

This may be an issue with me as I come up with a similar vision – for my creative ventures which I will gather under the Omniscapes name (new branding/new name pending), as well as a vision for us in an upcoming business venture which I will be investing lots of time and resources into, in the coming weeks and months.

And actually… while I’m at it, I may try to come up with an updated vision for myself? I don’t know, but that’s in the list of things to do.

Speaking of things to do, I actually would like to come up with a formal presentation of a vision for the Aces… and that’s supposed to be placed in our dedicated WordPress. That, and a whole bunch of other things I leave on Evernote for me to continually pressure myself to get stuff done. I’ll stop here for now, and maybe continue my vision for the Aces, again, in the Aces’ website. Everything else, well, I’ll keep here. As a starting point, a launch pad.

Friends, it’s Wednesday, and I hope your week has been good so far. God bless and keep you.

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