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September 2015
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November 2015

A Prayer for Spring Valley High School

O Lord our God we thank you for Your loving presence in all situations of life. We wish more people felt Spring Valley High School LogoYour loving presence and acted with a sense of grace and love. This is a characteristic and habit of life we wish for everyone.

In the midst of the response to the incident at Spring Valley High School this week we begin with a prayer of thanksgiving for the life of everyone involved, regardless of the role they played. Regardless of the guilt they must bear or the innocence they claim. Regardless of the attitude with which they expressed their response to the situation.

All of our lives we have seen public schools as the place where community-based issues are played out. We debate opening religious exercises that included prayer and Bible reading. We constantly debate the quality of education, what ought to happen in the classroom, and what extra-curricular activities ought to be sponsored.

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Spring Valley High School is My Family High School

Spring Valley High SchoolIf my house had a third floor or if I could climb to the very top of the current roof I could probably see Spring Valley High School from my house. It is less than a mile away. Why is that important? Let me connect it for you.

Spring Valley High School is where this week a School Resource Officer slammed a student to the floor. The telephone videos taken by other students in the classroom have gone viral. I have the initial video memorized second by second. It has made national news for three days now. It is actually weird to see national television reporters standing across the street from our local high school which we can see over their shoulder.

I am deep into Spring Valley. The name of my neighborhood is Spring Valley. The name of my church is Spring Valley. It is Spring Valley all around. Both of my children graduated from Spring Valley High School—one in 1997 and the other in 2000. But, Spring Valley High School is a different place now. Not better or worse—just different.

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God's Vision for Congregations is Not About Me

God does not necessarily want your congregation to be successful, to grow big, to compete with others It-is-all-about-mechurches, to be the church with the best reputation, to have the most beautiful buildings, to have the friendliest people, to have the most outstanding preacher, to have significant missional engagement, or to be the best at reaching young adult families.

That is, unless it is God’s vision for your congregation. God much prefers for you to be a congregation which lives into its God-given vision rather than a congregation which sets its goals and then asks God to bless them.

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Football and the Missional Proactivity of Congregations

Between plays during a football game teams do one of four things. 1. They call a timeout to talk with their Football Team Huddlecoaches. 2. They form a huddle and call a play. 3. They huddle briefly then go to the line and look to their coaches to call in the next play. 4. They use a no huddle offense approach.

How is this like a congregation which is ideally seeking to be on a proactive missional journey?

4. Some are on "go" all the time and ready for the next play. They engage in action then reflection. 3. Some have a basic idea about where they are headed but are always looking to the Triune God as their spiritual coach to focus their missional action. 2. Some have their own plan and are seeking to carry it out. 1. Some keep calling a timeout because they are having trouble hearing the voice of the Triune God and they would rather huddle and take timeouts than move forward toward the goal of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Which one of these is your congregation? How would you sharpen and further describe this illustration in your congregation?

God’s Vision for Congregations is Not About Me

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