May 2022 Connection

Church-and-Rescue
(Get it?!)

 
In 2007, Arthur Allen, an oceanographer and member of the United States Coast Guard, put into practice an improved model of maritime search and rescue that became known as Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS). Say that three times fast! This was a result of nearly a decade of work studying the push and pull of bodies of water on everything from distressed swimmers and kayaks, to lost-at-sea ships and even aircraft. What became known as “Drift Analysis,” Arthur was able to bring great improvement to a process of search and rescue that, though already underway in its earliest form, would ultimately benefit immensely from the changes he proposed. To be fair, though, Arthur’s proposed changes were not welcomed by all, especially those who believed that the many years old processes of search and rescue were “good enough.”
 
Now, you might suspect that my purpose in sharing this story is to say that we can’t always do things the way we always have because new ways can be a great improvement, etc…etc. While there is a great amount of truth to that, my focus is rather on the boldness and innovation demonstrated by Arthur Allen, hardly a household name, to dedicate his life’s work to exploring better ways of finding those who were lost at sea. He believed that, while there was merit to the original practices of search and rescue, there might be better and more successful ways of saving the lost.
 
See where this is going?
 
We all get to be a version of Arthur Allen for Christ’s church, don’t we? Many of us remember times, not all that long ago, when it seemed as though you could just open the church doors and people would show up, connect, join the church, and spend lifetimes as part of the congregation. As time has passed, we’ve learned that it doesn’t really work like that, anymore. There are a variety of reasons for this, some of which are actually really good, but that’s a topic for another book – or volumes of them.
 
And so, now we have to look at the vast waters of the community in which we live and serve as a church and ask ourselves, how can we, like Arthur Allen, search the waters differently for the lost. With our journey of 1800 feet to the street a few weeks ago on Palm Sunday, we begin the work of building meaningful and lasting relationships with the Grand Blanc community. While it may not be search and rescue, so to speak, it is a process of boldly and creatively declaring that we can, in fact, build upon what we’ve done in the past to discover effective ways of gospel sharing, relationship building, and church growing.
 
Join me, won’t you, as we survey the waters around us, learn more about how the waters flow, and discover those adrift, so that we might serve, love, and demonstrate the grace of God to the world around us.
 
Peace,
Pastor Brian
 
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