A “Brave New World”
I must confess I have never read Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World, but its title alone describes where I think we find ourselves as congregations and a presbytery.
As Christians navigating a global pandemic, we live in a “brave new world” not because we are characters in a dystopian fantasy but because nearly every action we take requires profound faith, risk, and sacrifice.
A Lightspeed Response
In response to what may be the greatest sea change for the Church in centuries, our presbytery has come together expertly and quickly to support congregations and new worshipping communities in their time of need.
The Teams of Council have worked tirelessly with staff to broker Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Grants, Paycheck Protection Program Loans, Synod Grants, and COVID-19 Emergency Relief in various forms. Already, eighteen faith communities of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos have received financial guidance or relief from the presbytery.
It’s No Accident
The excellence and speed of our response is not by accident. It is an expression of the unique resources God has given Los Ranchos, the effectiveness of our mission design, and the embodiment of our core values of faithfulness, fellowship, and fruitfulness. More than these, it is an expression of the committed and skilled leaders God has convened in this place to transform lives and society.
Surviving a “Long Winter”
At our May Presbytery Gathering, we will consider electing an Administrative Commission to help us move “beyond the blizzard” to the “longish winter,” or even “short ice age,” that began in March. If there is any merit to the widely circulated article “Leading Beyond the Blizzard,” then from today onward, leaders “should be planning for scenarios that include years-long disruption.”
Whether we elect the Administrative Commission or not, impetus to do so is a sign of strength. Embedded everywhere in our presbytery’s mission design is adaptability and nimbleness. The playbook we adopted ten years ago was never intended to be static. Built into its very bones, and into our organizational structure, was constant learning and flexibility.
I have every confidence that those qualities are what enabled congregations to pivot so quickly to adapt to their changing circumstances, and I have even more confidence that the same qualities will enable us to develop a new playbook—whether through a special commission or otherwise—to help us fulfill God’s purposes in the months and years ahead.
Keeping our Eyes on Jesus
It has been one heck of a springtime. In a way, I feel the excesses of life are shedding day by day, and we are getting back to the basics of our faith, our relationships, and our mission as the Church. God has called us not to cower in fear but to keep our eyes on Jesus who has the power to deliver us. In that sense, we are as ready as ever to follow the One who gave his life for the sake of the world, to sacrifice for those we love and those that nobody loves.
Rising to the Challenge
In closing, I want to say how honored I am to work alongside you. Under difficult and unprecedented circumstances, you are rising to the challenge of this pandemic by keeping faith with each other and making the changes required to exhibit the kingdom of God to the world. I look forward to seeing how God will use us in powerful ways as we navigate the months ahead.
With you on the journey,
Presbytery Co-Executive for Vision & Mission