I attended the Heartland District Beach Day this past Monday. It was held at the beautiful home of Pastor Cheryl Mancier and her husband Carl. When I got to their home I learned from a sign on the deck railing that Cheryl, along with serving the good folks at the Gathering UMC in Harrison, is also a water ski instructor! So after sitting down and visiting a bit we headed out to the lake. We loaded up the skis, lowered the boat off the shore station and headed out into the water. Once we got into the middle of the lake Cheryl got her skis on and soon she was cruising across the lake moving into and out of the wake from side to side. It was easy to see both her skill and joy in the sport.
As I watched from the boat a thought occurred to me, “I could do that!” When I was a teenager my family had a boat and I used to ski on a regular basis. As I watched Cheryl my mind rehearsed again the feeling of gliding across the water, feeling the jolt of the drop that occurs as you cross the wake. It was all coming back to me as I sat in the safety of the boat. I kept thinking, “I believe I could still do that, I really do!”
As Cheryl completed her tour of the lake and dropped the rope Carl asked me if I wanted to go, (I had shared my former skiing prowess as we pulled Cheryl along). I thought about it, then I thought about the fact that it had been at least three decades since I had water skied. I thought about the last time my back was out (see last week’s Castings!) and I said, “I don’t think I better.”
That was probably the smart response. It was probably the most adult answer to Carl’s question. After all Church Conferences are starting before long and they are harder to do in a body cast.
It was probably the correct answer given my 61 year old, out of shape, overweight body, but a part of me really wishes I’d said, “Yes!” A part of me really wishes I had gone to my car, gotten my suit on, and grabbed the rope. I’m not sure what would have happened. It might not have been good. But who knows. Muscle memory might have kicked in. The legs and feet and arms might all have responded to what my brain remembered from all those years ago. It might have been great. But I won’t know because I stayed safe. I stayed in the boat.
Sometimes we do that same sort of thing in our church don’t we? We think about taking a leap of faith, we think about doing something new that will impact our community, we dream big and get excited and we almost run and get our suit. But then somebody says, “Well we tried something like that before and it didn’t work.” Or somebody says that it will cost too much and we need to save money in case the pew pads wear out this year. And we go back to the report of the Paper Clip Committee and their plan to coordinate the paper clips in liturgical colors.
I wish I’d gotten in the lake the other day. I wish I’d put on the skis, grabbed the rope and given Carl the thumbs up.
What’s your church considering today that could maybe jump start a new ministry in your community if you just grab the rope and go?