When I was a kid, I used to love doing arts and crafts. I would build models of the human body, put together science experiments, or do various crafts whenever I found the time. Oftentimes for birthdays or Christmas, I would receive art sets or project kits. One project that I remember vividly was a paint by number kit of a horse. I remember opening up the box, pulling out the board and seeing a brush and the little plastic tubs of paint with each color that I would need to complete the picture. I was so excited to get started, and soon I was underway painting my masterpiece.
About halfway through the painting I found myself getting bored. The little bitty boxes with numbers that I was supposed to paint certain colors started becoming tedious, so I made the executive decision that the smaller sections were not as important. I started painting outside of the lines and incorporating the smaller pieces that were time-consuming and tedious into the bigger picture. At the time, I did not think these sections were very important since they were so small, and I was impatient and wanted this project to end.
Eventually I finished painting the entire picture, and I was proud, perhaps relieved, when I was done. Overall, it looked like a horse. But when I compared it to the cover of the box, my image lacked something. It wasn’t quite the same as the picture I had envisioned when I first started the project. I don’t think I dwelled too much on it because I was done with the project and ready to move on to something else. But as I look back on that time, I realize that in order to get our visions to come to fruition, it is the details that give depth.
Our church is in many ways, like that painting. We have incredible ideas and visions of where we can go, but sometimes we skip over the details because they don’t seem that important. However, when we look back on what we have completed or attempted to do, we often don’t understand why our efforts do not bring about the end result we originally envisioned even though we made a great effort. This can be disappointing. Sometimes we just don’t recognize the importance of the details or what details needed to be in place because we have not ever done it that way. Other times it could be the realities of the lack of time, money, or other resources. I have found that my greatest spiritual encounters are a result of the small and simple things.
While I am not a detail person by nature, I have grown to respect and appreciate that aspect of my ministry. Recognizing that detailed planning increases the chances of meeting my goals and objectives, I incorporate time for myself and the groups I lead to explore what elements are needed to enhance our ministries. The church has the ability to make connections with others and offer a space to grow, experience peace, and learn to love on a Divine level.
As we engage in this new year, I am hoping to find the details that will enhance this year and bring us a fuller understanding of who God is in this world, and who we are called to be.