I have been described in a number of settings as an “early adopter.” In case you haven’t heard this term before it is the definition of those who fall in the 10 to 15 percent of a group who are likely to respond to a new idea with, “let’s go for it!!” Early adopters tend to like change and get enthused by new ideas. It is, I think, an accurate assessment of who I tend to be.
However, I like tradition too − in some cases. I remember well my second year as a District Superintendent. The first year in this appointment was wonderful. It was a whole new ministry experience and after over three decades as a local church pastor, the shift in routine and activity was energizing. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a local church pastor. It is the heart of my calling and it has given me tremendous joy through the years, but that first year (and the years since) brought new and different ministry opportunities that were wonderful as well.
In the middle of my second year as a DS I realized something. It happened right about this time in December. I realized, as I attended various worship services throughout the District, people weren’t doing it right! The traditions and Advent practices that I brought and we celebrated in churches I served were not the ones most of the churches I was attending were doing. And I missed those traditions! I missed the traditions I had come to value and sharing those elements of worship with the congregations.
I’m glad I’m an early adopter. It helps me to be a bit more comfortable with change. As most of us are aware, change is a constant in the world we live in, and therefore needs to be relatively constant in the churches where we worship and serve. But, I’m grateful for traditions as well. I’m grateful for those things that remind us of who we have been and indeed who we still are.
So I pray that this Advent and Christmas season hold the best of both the new and the traditional for you. I pray that you will find joy in it all. I pray that you will discover a new sense of peace and hope as together we seek to follow the star and find our way to Bethlehem again this year.
P.S. The next DS Castings will be January 3, 2018. See you next year!