One of my memories of my senior year at high school is the Senior Awards Night held at the local movie theater (one whole screen in 1977!) in Norwich NY. Students
were recognized for their academic and civic achievements. An English teacher, Mr. Reginald Gerchman, served as master of ceremonies. Mr. Gerchman lightened up the
evening by announcing humorous awards/prizes along with the serious scholarships. One “award” I remember in particular. Mr. Gerchman had one of my classmates, David, stand up and be recognized for being so eager, so excited, so enthusiastic to learn at school that he had fallen out of his chair onto the floor during a class. After our applause and
cheers, Mr. Gerchman went on to tell us that David actually fell out of his chair because he had fallen asleep during class. He left David with this parting admonition, “Remember David, when you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there!” Interesting words…. Where am I going? Where are our congregations going?
There are many issues that could easily consume the time and energy of the church. However, the challenge before a prophetic people is to discern and pursue what matters most for the journey ahead. D&C 163:11b.
The mission of Jesus Christ is what matters most for the journey ahead. D&C 164:9f
In 2019 the Pittsburgh Beechview congregation hired a consultant who led the congregation in a discernment process. It was money well spent (thanks for our mission center’s Mission Initiative Grant!). I found the sessions to be really
worthwhile. We shared our thoughts, challenges, hopes, and dreams. The consultant helped us to be more deliberate in discerning and determining what we feel called to do and to be, and we are moving forward in faith. The future isn’t certain, the path isn’t entirely clear, but we trust God is with us on the journey. The discernment the congregation engaged in helped me realize that we need to talk more with each other about our congregations and the mission center. Let’s share more with each other. The mission center leadership team
wants to hear what’s going on in your congregation. I strongly encourage congregations to consider participating in a period of discernment if it’s been a while since the last time. Hiring a consultant worked well for Pittsburgh Beechview. It was fantastic to have a professional lead us in the process. Don’t rule it out–Mission Initiative Grants are available.
Where am I going? I’ve been asking myself that lately as I’ve been considering my own personal spiritual journey. I’d like to read more, meditate (think) more, pray more, but I
find it difficult. Is it just me or is it too easy to fall into unproductive patterns (often involving hours of TV) that stifle growth? It may be March 2020 by the time you read this,
but I don’t think it is ever too late to think about resolutions for the current year. Last year I decided that I wanted to be more intentional about making “mission” part of my daily life. I resolved to offer the Mission Prayer as I rode the trolley to work each day. It was a good experience worth repeating. This year, I’ve decided to be more deliberate in taking the
time to become closer to God. I’ll let you know how it goes.
It is my prayer that whatever we do that brings us closer to God, whether it be reading, studying, meditating, singing, worshiping, playing music, watching movies, visiting, serving, etc., whatever it is, we do more of it.
By John Spilsbury – Mission Center President