Don't Assume

by Eric Folkerth

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I shared this on Sunday, but it’s worth sharing again so we all can meditate on it more…

The very first piece of paper I printed out on the Kessler Park printer was the above page, with the words “Don’t Assume” written on them.

I taped it up on the wall, across from my desk, where I can see it even as I’m typing these words.

It’s an old and tired joke, I know…

“You know what you do when you assume…”

When we “assume” we know all we need to know already, we can make mistakes. We miss things. We can fail to hear important information that other people are trying to tell us. We can see people as being only our assumptions about them, and not see them as they really are.

So, as I continue to meet with our lay leadership and staff here at Kessler, I’m asking some very basic and simple questions like…

“How do we do this?”

“Who usually takes care of that?”

“Who are the stakeholders and volunteers involved in (fill in the blank) ministry?”

“Tell me about an average Sunday?”
“Tell me about an average week?”

I’m asking basic questions like this, not because I don’t know how to “do church.” I do know how. And not because I don’t have ways of doing all these things.

I’m asking these questions because I know enough to know that every church is unique and has its own culture; so before I can “lead,” I must “understand.” (The same goes for the neighborhood…)

And it’s interesting. As I ask these very basic questions, they often lead to greater conversations about who we have been as a church, and who we might like to be in the future. It seems to be opening up some thoughtful responses from many of our lay leaders and staff.

God calls us to see each human being, each church, as unique and special in their own way.

I like to call it “incarnational seeing.” Others call it “being mindful.” It’s sort of the same process, either way.

It’s slowing down…paying attention…not assuming too much.

Our “Listening Tour” gatherings will start soon. I am very much looking forward to them. Because they will be continuing times for us to share with each other, and to listen to each other, and to not assume too much about each other.

Out of that, great vision for our future will be revealed.

I can’t wait to see what our dreaming, and God’s moving, will lead us to do together.