This quote came from the Common Prayer reading from this morning.
American abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who press to favor freedom yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
As base a thing money often is, it yet can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor; it can keep a missionary actively winning lost souls to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values. Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.
A. W. Tozer
"The question which has to be put to every local congregation is the question whether it is a credible sign of God's reign in justice and mercy over the whole of life, whether it is an open fellowship whose concerns are as wide as the concerns for humanity, whether it cares for its neighbors in a way which reflects and springs out of God's care for them, whether its common life is recognizable as a foretaste of the blessing which God intends for the whole human family." Leslie Newbigin
There was a man named John who walked into a bank to finalize a business transaction dressed in his blue jeans. The teller told him that the officer he needed to see wasn't in and he would have to come back the next day. John said that would be fine and asked the teller to validate his parking ticket.
The teller then informed him that according to bank policy, she couldn't validate his parking ticket because he had not technically completed a financial transaction.
John asked for an exception, since he had come to the bank intending to do business, but wasn't able to because the appropriate officer wasn't in.
The teller didn't budge. She said, "I'm sorry; that's our policy. Rules are rules."
So John decided to make a business transaction. He decided to close his account.
The account he closed had a balance of over $1.5 million.
This qualified as a business transaction, and the teller was able to validate the parking ticket.
LCOP, thank you for responding and showing up to our first combined communion Sundays.
It was so cool to celebrate the sacraments of communion and baptism, receive new members, ordain and install our new deacons with the whole church gathered in one place. Loved seeing the sanctuary full with our people.
What a great Sunday!!!
Way to go LCOP! You made it happen!
Looking forward to many more great celebrations to come.
If you've lived in Lakewood, this name is no big deal. It's a part of your reality. People around Lakewood know this name because the church is kind of a historic place. It's been around as long as Lakewood has been around, and the church has done some pretty significant ministry around here. So when locals hear the name, they think of the history and the legacy of the ministry of the Little Church on the Prairie.
When everyone else hears the name of the church, they hear "Little House on the Prairie."
Come on. You did too.
When I tell people the name of the church where I pastor, one of the most common reactions is laughter. They think I'm kidding. And when they realize it's really our name, they're embarrassed for laughing.
That's how it typically goes.
For new residents in Lakewood and for others who don't know our history, the name doesn't do anything for us. One could make the argument that the name actually might be hurting us with new residents and younger people who are looking for a church in the area.
When I first came to LCOP as its senior pastor, one of the changes I contemplated was leading the church through a name change.
As with all change a leader leads, there are some very important questions to consider:
What are the costs?
What are the benefits?
Is this a battle worth fighting?
First, what are the costs of making such a change?
There are folks at LCOP who were born here. They're parents help to get the church started. They were baptized here, married here, and buried their loved ones here. The Little Church is their church. Changing the name of a church or organization that has as much emotional ties as our's should only be taken with the utmost care.
The cost of making a name change would have been very significant. It could have been done but would come at a costly relational price.
Second, what would be the benefits of a name change?
We could have gone with a name that expressed more clearly the vision and the direction of the church, a name that connected with the people we are trying to reach in the community.
Finally, would this been a battle worth fighting?
One of the realities of leadership is that not all battles are worth fighting. There are things that absolutely need to be fought for, but not all things fit in that category.
The more I spent time reflecting on the name, it was clear that this would have way more relational cost and consequences than benefits. And more importantly, with all the other things that needed changing, the name of the church was not even close to being a priority.
I'm going on four years of as one of the pastors at the Little Church on the Prairie. You know what? The name's grown on me. I actually think it really fits the culture and the history of this church.
We are a place where simplicity matters, relationships matter, character matters. We may not be the fanciest place around, but you're going to find some wonderful, caring, loving people at the Little Church on the Prairie.
The Little Church on the Prairie...Love this church! Love this name.