Dear Yates Family,
I write to you today, on the last day of June 2020, and marvel that we are halfway through this very strange year together. I continue to pray for you, and hope that you are finding ways to grow and flourish in spite of the many daily disruptions and difficulties.
About a month ago, I came to a new awareness that I’m trying to share with as many as I can. It is not a new or original thought, but it has helped me tremendously, so I share it with you: Don’t dwell on what you cannot do, and consider daily what you can do. At just the right time, God led me to Psalm 112, verse 7 in particular, which says, “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”
“They” are those the Psalms call “the righteous.” Though we cannot claim righteousness on our own accord, it is an identity we’re graciously granted in Christ. It is an identity we can live out as we look constructively at every one of our days. Despite the news, which lately always seems to be bad, there are ways we can build on the firm foundation of God’s steadfast love and provision. The responsibility is ours, though, to relentlessly look toward the possibilities they hold.
I’ve been encouraged to see how Sunday school classes, small groups, Bible studies and the choir are gathering in virtual environments. Along with links to the Yates Home Worship resource page (www.yateschurch.org/homeworship), the front page of the Yates website also has links to help you learn how to log to the various discipleship groups currently meeting. This includes the wonderful new evening opportunity, “Created to Create,” meeting on Thursday evenings. Take a look and see where you might plug in.
In the months of July and August, there is another opportunity to grow individually and together as a community. Beginning Thursday, July 16, Anna Moxley and Jess Gaul will teach a five-week study on Thursday mornings at 10:30 AM using a tool called the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a tool that helps us identify ourselves as belonging to one of nine personality types. Those types aren’t so much about what we do, as they are about our motivation for doing the things we do. It is a tool to grow more aware of how we all see the world differently, how we respond differently to what we see, and of steps we can take to grow more Christlike. Walking through the Enneagram with prayer, Scripture study and personal reflection, I hope it will be an experience that helps the church grow across these summer months in several ways:
- We can each learn more about ourselves and the ways we are “fearfully and wonderfully made“ as persons in relationship with God and others.
- We can understand ourselves in relationship to others in our church community, hopefully to view fellow members more sympathetically and with greater understanding of the similarities and differences that make us stronger.
- We can come to know the language widely used among the emerging leaders of the church (i.e. “the young people”). This is a great way for established (i.e. “older”) folks to understand the ways young people talk about themselves in the world!
The study will be structured so that you can participate in the “live” session on Thursday mornings, or access the study resource page to listen to the lessons and download the necessary resources to perform self-study. If you cannot be at the gathered session on Thursday mornings, no worries. All the materials are available to you when you are available to engage.
I’m excited that these two women are exercising their gifts for ministry in this way, and hope that you have an interest in taking part.
In all of these ways, I hope that you will continue to grow as a disciple even when we cannot come together in the ways that give us greatest comfort. These are things we can do through the One who strengthens us. The Holy Spirit will continue to bind us together as we seek to be “a growing community, alive with Christ.”
We are in this together, and together we will see it through.
Stay safe and healthy,