When I turned 50 I got a new phone as a gift from my church. I have really appreciated it. Every 4-6 weeks a text has appeared on the screen saying: ”This phone has not been updated during the last six weeks. Do you want to do it now?” The question always comes when I am terribly busy or just at the ”wrong time”. Every time I get equally frustrated and think: 1. ”NO, I don’t want to update anything now. Don’t disturb me”. Even worse, I think: 2. ”This phone really does not NEED any updating. It works perfect”.
1998 the hubby and I bought a charming, little house in Parainen, outside of Turku. The house was built in the 1930’s and no real renovation had been done since that. There was no running water and the electricity had been installed perhaps in the 1950’s. An old man sold it to us. He was a little drunk and cried of joy when we signed the contract at the bank in Turku. He said: ”You don’t need to fix this house in any way, just move in”. Bernt and I looked at each other and thought: ”My goodness. Everything needs to be thrown out, repaired and renewed”. The house was indeed charming but it was in terrible shape. But the man who sold the house to us loved it and saw absolutely no need of an update. He was totally in love with his house and completely blind to its’ real needs.
Every church needs to be updated regularely. We need to update and rethink how we receive new people, how we create a loving, welcoming atmosphere, our cafés, our teaching, our way of teaching, our music, the whole church-building, the interior – everything. Nothing is kept fresh and updated automatically, not even we ourselves. If we are not updated we lose the ability to see the reality around us and we become “passé”, without realizing it ourselves. We maybe think we stand for something that is relevant and fresh but every new, normal human being that enters the church thinks: This feels like 1982 or 1997. And 1982 or 1997 was not yesterday.
Soon we meet for a conference in Vaasa (6-9.6 2019). Then we will talk about being updated, representing something fresh and alive. I think the theme is extremely relevant and fresh. I hope you come!