Adaptability is the key to survival.
Our world is constantly changing, and the rate of change has only accelerated exponentially over the last decade or two. Many churches are learning the hard way that if they can’t find ways to adapt the methods of their ministry to face these new realities, their very existence as a congregation may be at stake.
That same adaptable posture is also a must when it comes to space use. The churches who are courageously exploring new opportunities to leverage their space in ways that contribute to the flourishing of their community (and, in turn, their congregation) are those best positioned to rise to the challenge.
That’s not to say it’s easy. Initially, it can be incredibly hard work that pushes us to the point of exhaustion (and beyond, if we’re not careful).
To use a running analogy, I signed up to run a 50-mile trail race this fall, and running that distance along the Superior Hiking Trail will require very different things of my body and mind than the road running and racing I typically do. I’m bracing myself for my body to express aches I’ve never felt before and for my mind to be triggered by feelings of doubt as I try to fathom running 50 miles along the most challenging trails in Minnesota.
Yet I’ve been running long enough that I know if I stick with it, my body will adapt and the training will eventually become easier and, dare I say, enjoyable. Fun, even.
The same happens when churches commit to new ways of using and sharing space. The initial work can feel really hard, making us question if it’s gonna be worth it. But if we can persevere and stay committed to the vision that compelled us to act in the first place, we will find our groove. We’ll adapt, building new muscles and learning we’re capable of things we never could’ve previously imagined.
There will still be times when the work is really, really hard (I’m under no illusion that the Superior 50-Miler won’t be one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever attempted), but the work of reimagining and repurposing space for the flourishing of all can be satisfying and, dare I say, enjoyable.
With courage and hope,