Thursday, January 03, 2013

Small Sips Is Making a Bucket List

What "missional" looks like. Jan invites readers to dream up a "bucket list" for their church, except without the concept of death mixed in and basically just of stuff they could do that is new and adventurous:
Ideas for your Church’s Bucket List:  
Spend a Saturday morning (as a church) hanging out at a local laundromat or a local Jiffy Lube and pay for everybody’s laundry/oil change that morning. (Yes this will take some cash from the Random Acts of Kindness line item in your church budget. Having this line item in your church budget should also be on your Church Bucket List.) The purpose of doing people’s laundry/oil change is to serve in a random and generous way. The purpose is NOT to invite people to your church or to hand out glossy flyers about your Sunday School. If anyone asks why you are doing this you say, “We are part of the same church.” Make them ask you the name of your church, if they really want to know. Believe me, if they are looking for a spiritual home, they will seek you out.  
Take a cooler full of popsicles to a ball field when the weather gets warmer during a Little League or soccer game. Just hand them out to anybody who wants one. Again, don’t wear church t-shirts or share a church flyer with the popsicle. Just smile and love them and feel great about serving them. And if they ask you why you are doing this, just say, “We know each other through church.”  
Challenge every person in your congregation to do some simple act of compassion or generosity for their next door neighbor. Invite them to share what they’ve done – again out of love, not out of “let’s save the neighbors!” or “let’s target them as potential new members!” Ideas: bake them cookies, rake their leaves, invite them to dinner.  
Schedule at least one regular church event (a Bible study, women’s meeting, small group, Christian Education meeting, etc.) in a public space on a monthly basis. Get out of your church building. Hang out in a diner, a bar, a public library, a park, a coffee shop.  
None of these ideas are particularly fresh. But they’re a start.
At various points, I've wanted to do stuff like this, but I think I wanted to be more organized than what Jan suggests. This sounds much more organic and in the spirit of discipleship than an overplanned church function.

That's probably a big part of the problem: we churchy types need to get out of the programmatic mindset, at least to the degree in which many of us operate. Some planning is needed, but not a ridiculous, soul-sucking amount that quashes the spirit of the act.

*scribbles reminder on paper to encourage more of this stuff*

Hey, that's...yeah! Tim at Black Coffee Reflections shares some tips on making, tracking progress on, and keeping resolutions. I found two and four especially helpful:
Second, revisit your progress twice a month. I find that I need to update my goals and resolve again quite frequently. The beginning was the hardest, so I set smaller goals of updating the resume, creating an Evernote folder, then bookmarking the websites I was going to use, telling my senior pastor what we were thinking and so forth. By the way, I entitled that Evernote folder “Keep Moving Forward.” 
Four, reward yourself when making progress. For me, it was buying great coffee or trying a new beer or splurging a little on my family. I liked the positive reinforcement, I liked what it meant, I liked that it was life-giving. Cross a key item off my list and I was headed to the Ridgewood Coffee House to buy a cup of Clover-pressed Intelligentisia. I’d do some work, I’d read a little and then work through that Evernote folder.
I used to use that positive reinforcement trick in college and seminary whenever I'd finish some paper or project. It makes sense to use them for these other goals, especially resolution-y ones.

Gives new meaning to "liturgical dance." Matthew Paul Turner has found that Gangnam Style praise is a thing, and that thing is pretty terrible:

If you actually clicked "play," I apologize.

A thing that is not terrible. On New Year's Day, Michigan lost to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. That made me sad, mostly because it was Denard Robinson's last game as a Wolverine. While his work as a QB wasn't always pretty, he was still one of the most exciting players to wear a winged helmet in a long time, and a great representative and person off the field. MGoBlog has posted a video of highlights spanning his entire career:

Good luck, Denard. And thanks.

Misc. Luke gives me a shout-out on his year-end blog summary. Jamie on remembering Christmas' true purpose. You say it's past the time to link such a thing, I say it's the 10th day of the Christmas season, so stuff it. Rachel Held Evans has a year-end best-of post, too. Gordon Atkinson is going to blog his experiences in becoming Episcopalian.