This summer is a really interesting one for us, message wise. Currently we are offering a series called “What God Wants.” It is a message that we have given before, and we have been up front about that. It is also a video message: we film during the week and show the video after Masses on the weekend. In August we are going to be offering another series presented live, after Mass, with different speakers: Michael, Tom and Chris. Why?
We are experimenting with different approaches to preparing and presenting the weekend message that give us more bench strength as a team, allow the Pastor to get time off for vacation and study and still keep a consistent, Church wide message. We do it after Mass so that there are no Liturgical questions about our experiments.
The obvious question from the beginning was, would anybody even actually stay after Mass to hear a 20-minute message? It turns out the answer is yes: week one the vast majority of people sat back down and settled into the message. Week two they came back and stayed again. That shows a great deal of maturity and commitment from the congregation and it also underscores how important a relevant, challenging message is to people.
Meanwhile, we are using the extra time we have made for ourselves this summer to study and plan for the fall series. This fall we will have three series. The first starts in September and is going to be about vision: God’s vision for our lives and how we get that vision going. Later in October and November we will be offering a stewardship message about money (something Jesus talked about a lot). And then in December we are developing a really interesting message and a completely new approach to our Advent gift-giving program. We even have some ideas we’re working on for 2010.