Taking Time To Visualize (Transition: Worship Service) – September 30, 2022 (297-298/365)

Hey folks. You’re probably here coming from the last post I made, but just in case, I just want to say that I’m in the process of unrolling all that I’ve received and allowed to marinate in my mind – as such, it may all come out pretty messy, but, well, thanks for being here.

So if the theme for Chapel Time last September was to emphasize Christ in all that happens to us, just as much as He is in all that we want to happen, the theme I’ve decided for them this coming October is to the tune of the famous saying: ‘Pay It Forward’. That is, as you have been given, so give; As you have been loved, so love; As you have been forgiven, so you forgive; Finally, as you have been encouraged, so encourage. It’ll be something I’ll be introducing and starting next Friday, the first Friday of October.

For this coming Sunday Worship Service, it’s a different story. Much as I would like to give them a recap of what’s been going on for the month of September, I’d like to set their sights on what I believe is to be in store for them this coming month, and possibly even this coming quarter, and that in anticipation for what’s looking to happen as we jump into 2023.

And really, for us to have some sort of idea of what we want next, no matter how far in the future we want to consider, there’s the absolute need for the establishing the vision of my team and congregation; And contrary to other methods of ‘vision casting’ that we’ve been introducing in the past, I think we’re going to go somewhere by way of laying down what we have from hindsight and insight, to determine our foresight. I’ve wanted to do this not only for the church, but also for my ventures in visual arts (clearly, more than mere photography), and also in the upcoming waste management business we’re getting ourselves into.

No, now that I think about it, I think we’ll start off with the vision of our team and congregation, before we jump into those 10 commands as we’ve seen them.

I’m tempted to go all out – that is, to start from the beginning – to just make this really wordy and to add to the already substantial surplus of words I have stocked up. But I’ll just write off of the top of my head.

The Afternoon (Hindsight)

The Afternoon Service was held at the central part of Baguio. When there was a rift in the main church the other services were hurt bad, at least by way of attendance, but the services I used to go to as a lay person (?) were unfazed. I think it was important to keep this in mind and to mention this, not to flaunt our resilience, but to point out that we haven’t been hurt and therefore haven’t learned from the need to make adjustments and to recover. It was a service that thrived, not necessarily by way of quantity, but I’d like to think that the ‘quality’ of its people increased – well, just to know that the people that came stayed, and stayed on, that was something of note, now that I think about it.

Years pass, then something happens, that hits everyone – not just all of the worship services, but all the churches that have been established under our guidance, domestic and international; That is, our Senior Pastor, our vision holder dies. They say it was Covid but I question that. Anyway, one thing that I notice – again, now that I think about it – is that the services that have been honed under crisis are quick to move. It’s also by the grace of God that we are found by the main church administration in the situation we are in as the Afternoon Service team – that is, with nobody more ‘senior’ than me left there; for it was by their decision and their consequential push that I took on the interim title of Pastor-in-charge of the Afternoon service. Changes were imposed by the new Senior Pastor, and I went along when I agreed, and was not hesitant to question what I thought needed clarification.

It was during this time that all I had in terms of a team, and in terms of what they call a ‘core’ were the remnants of the afternoon service worship team. In my mind, under their own director (whom I’ve had to choose; that was my position before what I’m calling the ‘push’), they were able to do their duty. That’s what we were focused on, at least in the moments following the pandemic and all the lockdowns – they focused on leading worship, I focused on the Word to be shared…

And that was the situation until the church council meeting held last year, 2021. It was finalized here, that I was the Lead Pastor of the afternoon service. We were all told to come up with a name for our team and congregation, and now that I think of it, it was a wise move, if only for us to identify ourselves that way, instead of merely by the time slot we had for our worship service.

That’s when we had the first mentions of the Good News Aces. I called my team the Aces, under the same concept of how Aces are valued, say, in a game of Black Jack – 1 or 11, according to what is needed. The Aces are also as variable in Poker, serving as the first card in a low straight, or the highest card in a Royal straight.

We are what’s needed, generally speaking.

The Aces (Insight)

Soon after this council meeting my team and I set things into motion – off the top of my head we set up our own pages in social media, and we also produced and broadcast what was to be called the Overflow – that is, a podcast-style ‘service’ with worship, and a spoken portion; Initially, I was the only one talking, but eventually, we really made it a podcast by way of having guests over to talk to, and our conversations recorded.

It was all in the name of asserting, and therefore discovering our identity. I initially thought of the Overflow concept, considering its potentials for continuity, but I could be perfectly honest now that the plan all along was just to do it to prove to ourselves that we could do it, without any outside influence or intervention. That’s probably another thing that was on the mind of my music team as they also got a little more serious in their worship compositions – by way of practicing them to a point that they were worthy, not only to be recorded and broadcast, but also to be shared and introduced to the congregation.

We have innovated, and we continue to innovate. The mission was for us to create, curate, collaborate, and connect in celebration of Christ and His finished work, and this is apparently a mission that continues to this day.

Speaking of holding true to our mission and identity, another observation that I’d like to note at this point is that we are truly what’s needed. My team – especially my worship team – they have gone above and beyond by way of being available to the other services and teams. When these other services had their own situations to deal with which impacted personnel attendance, they asked the Aces, and we delivered what was needed – they filled in slots for individual musician roles, technical roles, and even directorial roles. As a Lead Pastor I have also had my experiences of meeting the needs of the congregation – dedicating young Aces, and holding requiems and burial services for people within my circle of influence.

The Advance (Foresight)

Pastor Joedy was right – this was a great way for me to have an idea of what visions an entity ought to have. You consider the past and the present in envisioning the future.

One thing that I forgot to add was from what we’re calling the anniversary of the Aces – that is, on the last Sunday of April, when we not only developed but propagated the Aces’ identity; I gave a report on how we were doing as a service, and what we planned on doing moving forward. At the time I proposed to our congregation that our move was to emphasize utilization of online resources – that is, online payment methods for tithes and offerings, more of the Overflow, more consistent posts on social media and our website.

I recall this online push to be a manifestation of my personal desire, and what I propose as a vision for the Aces, which has been confirmed to be in line with the vision of the main Church – that we would see ourselves as more than just a service, but, as Pastor Ronnie would say, an actual Church, with more than just the Sunday service as our ministry. We have innovated, and we shall continue to innovate, in the name of varying our approaches to fulfilling the mission – which is, again, to create, curate, collaborate, and connect in celebration of Christ and His finished work.

Here’s another thing. I’ve seen how we wanted to be what was needed in our own church, and in our own areas of influence. However, I have also seen how my team has been stretched thin, seemingly unable to handle the masses of people with their own requests and demands. To this I propose that we go beyond being who’s needed, but we also share, to anyone and everyone who sees, listens, and/or observes – if only for them to be who’s needed as well. Now I’m writing all this and I’m thinking that it needs some sort of clarification, but I suppose it’ll do for the moment.

It’s in line with our new Senior Pastor’s push for discipleship, in particular – I don’t usually agree with him, but in the case of discipleship, I believe it is necessary, if only for us to be able to grow as individuals and as a congregation – not necessarily in quantity, but surely in quality; For if, in the terms of Jim Kwik, we learn twice when teaching; well, we also develop ourselves when we disciple.

And is discipling really dragging someone around with you to be you? May work for some people, but I believe our approach to discipling is to influence, and to be ready with a testimony when the time comes… But I guess it’s time for us, for me to probably re-think the word influence; we tried influencing, perhaps it’s time for us to do more than this – to involve.

Considering the ways of the Past and being aware of what’s going on in the Present really does help us in at least having a substantial picture of what our Future looks like. And, at least for the immediate future (‘immediate’ being at least this next and final quarter of 2022), our vision is going to be: Inspiration, Innovation, and Involvement.

As always we will never deviate from drawing motivation and inspiration from Christ, who was motivated and inspired to reconcile us. It’s from this drive, and our fearless evaluations of ourselves in our current situations and circumstances that we are able to innovate beyond what the world expects of us. Finally, in the process of repeated inspiration and innovation, we not only act on our innovations but are made ready to involve others in the body of Christ to partner with us – all in celebration of Christ and His finished work.

Obviously there’s a whole lot more to clarify in this crude vision that was established today, on this final day of September… but I’m glad to have taken the first step in at least getting a vision out for us to work on. Just as I am excited to continue to partner with our school in Chapel Time, so I am excited, not only to disseminate said vision, but to lead even more people into inspiration, innovation, and their own hand in involving others in their circles of influence as well.

Until the next post, God bless us all.

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