A blog post by Suzie Porter
Image Credit: Failure is not final by Live Life Happy on Flickr
My New Year’s resolution for this year is to fail. Here we are, a few weeks into a new year, and I am sporting my first ever stitches. It’s not exactly the failure I was going for when I made this resolution.
It may sound rather bleak. Truth be told, I have no desire to have a year full of failures as I look back on 2014 next December. When I made this resolution, I was thinking of the year ahead in my role at Trinity Lutheran Church. In fact, I am hoping to have some successes, lots of successes, in the mix as well. Failure isn’t always bad.
Here’s the thing. You can avoid failure by always succeeding, but there are no guarantees that you will never fail. You can also avoid failure by never trying. That’s just it. I want to try lots of new things this year. Some will work, some will be mediocre, and some will just plain fail.
My New Year’s resolution is in response to some discerning I have been doing as I look at where we are as the church. In some ways, systems that have worked for so long in the past are struggling to find their footing in this world. I believe that what we do and what we believe has not changed that drastically. However, the way we do things has changed.
Ten years ago, I made coffee, listened to music, watched sitcoms, and communicated with my family much differently than I do now. I still do all of these things, but I do them differently. Even with an iPhone, Pandora, Netflix, and FaceTime, I still crave authentic relationships. We can mourn the loss of what was, or we can embrace the possibility that is before us.
Like many others, I have been struggling with what the church looks like in this time and place. What does it mean to be the church when society no longer clears the schedule for Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights? What does it mean to be the church in a culture saturated with knowledge that is at our fingertips? What does it mean to be the church in this time and this place? How can we embrace the possibilities that a digital world bring, and yet remain true to the Gospel?
People still crave authentic relationships and community. People still need hope. And they need people and places that remind them of this hope, and equip and challenge them to live into this hope daily. People still need to know that they are claimed and loved as a child of God. Twitter, podcasts, iPhones, and other forms of digital and social media are tools we can use to engage, invite, and proclaim.
My desire to partner with families in faith formation and encouraging young people to grow in faith has not changed. I am committed to a year of trying some of the possibilities that living in a digital world brings forth. Here’s to embarking on a journey of living out my calling in unchartered and unfamiliar territory.
Suzie Porter is finishing her MA in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary. She lives in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, where she serves as the Director of Youth & Family Ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church.