After my last briefing, I received a number of really helpful suggestions and reflections, and I encourage you to continue to send these in. My hope is that we will be flooded with new experiments and innovations, and some of these may turn out to be “game-changers” in creating a new paradigm for our church. As I mentioned previously, during the COVID-19 shutdown, this is our greatest opportunity to experiment and try new things. Everyone has permission to fail, and there will be quite a few failures due to the nature of our experimentation.
As we remember during the restart of Major League Baseball, a top hitter will only be successful 3 out of 10 times at the plate. This means that the best hitters in baseball will make an out 7 of 10 times! If we are successful in a new ministry endeavor with that same success rate, I will take it every time! But we have to start experimenting. How many experiments has your church started since the pandemic? I would like to challenge every church to try a minimum of 10 during this shut-down period.
We also have to learn from each mistake. The U.S. Army does an excellent job when it comes to this learning. They perform an “After-Action-Review” (AAR) after every exercise, mission or performance. It is a rigorous process where they document what went right or wrong and what they need to do differently the next time. They have built a learning culture that continues to get better after every new experiment.
With this in mind, we are creating an online platform where we would like to post every one of your experiments and learnings, both successes and failures. We need everyone to contribute to this learning by posting what you have tried and what you have learned from it. Once again, this means both our successes and failures. We will start with the ones that I have received, but we need many more. Every church needs to start experimenting, and with our sheer numbers, we will find some that will make a huge difference!
Please send your experiments and learnings to James Kang at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get this online platform up and running, and I look forward to your submissions!
Our Connectional Ministry staff is putting the final touches on a complete worship service that you can play for your church by the end of August. We know how hard you all have been working on putting your worship services online, and we are hoping that this will give you a helpful break where you can get some much-needed rest and rejuvenation for one Sunday. Please look for this download from our media team soon.
Stemming from the legislation that was passed at our 2020 Annual Conference Sessions, a team of our key Black leaders has come together to develop initial plans to revitalize our historic Black churches and communities. We will be holding our first organizing meeting of Black clergy and key lay leaders on Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. I am really excited about the plans for this meeting, and believe that this will launch us into a significant future.
For inspiration this week: Dr. Arthur Kleinman who teaches at Harvard, wrote a wonderful article on the care of his late wife during the last year of her battle with Alzheimer’s disease. They also faced the isolation from sheltering in place due to COVID-19. He advocates the importance of daily rituals – small but meaningful moments during each day that bring joy and happiness. The last paragraph of his article:
We can all learn how to endure with purpose and make this a period of emotional and moral transformation. A plague, as Albert Camus knew, is the moment to ask what life is for. The response to Covid-19 suggests one answer: care for yourself and others. So take a breath and take the time to change the daily rituals that make up life. Throw yourself into them as if your life were at stake, which it is.
(Printed in the Wall Street Journal: “How Rituals and Focus Can Turn Isolation Into a Time for Growth” by Dr. Arthur Kleinman)
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop