I’ve had this in my ‘Drafts’ for weeks just listed as ‘for mosaic.’ Since Mosaic just observed her 8th birthday (wow!), I thought I’d finish typing it up. Just before I moved away, on a night that Eric V. was preaching, I gave a short ‘charge’ to Mosaic (or at least that’s what Don called it). This is roughly what I said (with a few things added that I wish I had said):
It’s hard to think about leaving after 8+ years. I love who we’ve become and who we are becoming as a community. It feels like a lot of pressure to give a ‘charge’ but I’ll give it a shot. 🙂
Someone recently asked me why I stuck around ‘baby Mosaic’… after all the core group meetings of spring and summer and the excitement of our first liturgy – there were some hard times. Times when there were very few people, or very little money, or both. We were small, we were awkward, and we weren’t sure this was gonna work.
I stayed because I felt called to our vision and values that we had talked about in core group. Our DNA was already there – and I knew I wanted to see a church community that believed in the vision and values of justice, art, spiritual formation, and being church here in Austin. And _I_ was being formed – by the books we were reading and the conversations our little community was having in the Seays living room. And I was also helping form Mosaic. I stayed too because people came alongside. Some of y’all were those…
At some point, I went all in. Not in a cult scary kind of way – though it was scary. I committed to this sort of strange band of fellow travelers – some of whom I didn’t really like. It was scary to be with a new thing… Though I bet there’s the same type of ‘scary’ being with an established thing too – with an even stranger band of fellow pilgrims – some of whom you don’t really like or even find downright annoying.
We’ve grown so much since the early days – both in numbers but also in depth. We’re in an exciting phase of discerning where God is calling us as a community. The one-on-ones this spring and summer have been our way of figuring out who we are – how God’s gifted us – where he might be calling us to further shalom in our city. And this week the staff will spend a lot of time looking at that information – sorting it out. Later, they’ll work with leadership team in prayer and discernment – all leading up to the retreat in November for everyone. It’s a really exciting place – and I’m sad to miss it. But I am hoping and praying that as part of this process many of us will go all-in. I’ll explain more in a second.
The staff are obviously all in. There are lots of joys and beautiful amazing things about being on staff at Mosaic. They love us. A lot. But there are really tough things too. They raise support. They wait extra days before getting paid, because there’s not enough money sometimes to pay our rent for the space and to make paychecks. Other ‘normal’ pastors often don’t understand what we’re about. Our pastors are here because they feel called to love and serve the community, but even that sometimes is really hard. They could all be doing other things and probably getting more sleep and making more money. But they are called here, and are invested.
If you feel like you’re being formed by being here – or feel called to the vision and values like I did, or just that for whatever reason, you’re here and are a part of this community – I invite you to go all-in too. In thinking about this, I thought of three ways that might look. One is being invested through prayer for our community, staff, and leadership. In prayer throughout the week, we remember that we are dependent on God – we bring our concerns about our community to Him. We join together as a community to sit with God. We listen. We ask. We are thankful. There have been seasons where I’ve prayed for Mosaic, but lots of times when I’m just not thinking about it. Especially in this season of discernment, but hopefully always, let’s be praying.
Another way to be invested (haha) is to be committed financially. To join together in being disciplined in giving. Many of y’all know that I really care how Christians spend or hopefully steward money. For my work with InterVarsity I’ve raised support for the last 9 years. I believe that how we spend money is often indicative of our hearts. I gave a sermon several years ago on the topic and shared my budget and talked about giving. I shared about giving 10% to Mosaic. While I give to many organizations on top of that, I want to give where I am, too. This is not an extravagant place, the money we give doesn’t go to crazy programs – but it obviously takes money to pay our pastors and to pay for our space – to be who we’re called to be in Austin.
And then I’d say that another part of being all-in is taking ownership in being the church – it’s not just staff or leadership. You don’t have to have been here from the beginning to have ownership. In fact, maybe it’s better if you haven’t been. 🙂 Those of us who’ve been around have had a shot at it – we need our whole community to be involved, not just old-timers. We don’t have our parents generation to be the leaders like in many traditional churches. We’re it!
God has been so faithful to our community. Many Sundays I come for liturgy and it’s just normal – this is who we are, etc. But from time to time, I come in and am struck by how amazing it is that we’re here – as a community – in this space – with these people. Because in those early days (and even later days) it seemed like we might not be. Maybe I’m a bad dreamer, but Mosaic is so much more than I pictured back in those living room days. God has done such a beautiful thing – and He still is shaping and forming us. Join on in – we need you to participate in the listening and the conversations and the living out of our call as Mosaic.
Then, you know, I prayed for the staff who were headed out to the retreat. When I got to the part about thanking God for them and how much they’ve meant to me, I had to take a deep breath so as not to cry. And if you’ve read this far Mosaicians – know that I miss all y’all a lot.
now playing: Chicago – Sufjan Stevens